Traders and cyclists striving to create community hub in street in Warwick

Members of the Warwick community are teaming up to help create a new community hub for the town and are appealing for the public’s help.

Friday, 5th April 2019, 10:48 am
Updated Friday, 5th April 2019, 10:57 am
Members of the Warwick cycle hubs team with Matt Maltby (back right). Photo submitted.

The initiative, known as Warwick cycle hubs, is being spearheaded by Lara Smith who owns the Smithery on Smith Street.

Lara said: “The idea for the cycle hubs originally came about after I attended a workshop by Warwickshire Towns Network about Spacehive and how crowdfunding can benefit your local community.

“My shop is in Smith Street and it’s wonderful to be part of such a great community, but we find we struggle with our street being a thoroughfare for locals, and tourists tend to just stumble on us by accident.

Members of the Warwick cycle hubs team with Matt Maltby (back right). Photo submitted.

“It’s tough on the high street but we’re a pretty determined bunch and have been doing what we can to increase footfall as far as social media but we need more.”

Lara, other traders in Smith Street and members of the Warwick Amateur Cycling Club (WACC) have teamed up to create a community space and cycle hub by cafe Happy Puccia.

Lara said: “Several other projects in Warwickshire have looked at how they can solve local issues like the ‘Studley on the map project’, which has been hugely successful.

“After meeting up with some friends who’s cycling group meets at a Happy Puccia, it made sense to make it easier for cyclists when they visit our street, as currently they just lean their bikes up at the windows.

“So the idea grew to designing multi-purpose street furniture including cycle parking, seating and signs telling the story of the area and its history.

“We really hope the project is successful so that it can be rolled out across Warwick as cycling has become so popular and not only has health benefits but environmental bonuses too.”

“Matt Maltby and the team from Apteco, one of our major sponsors so far, have been very supportive of the project. They were named Warwickshire’s most cycle-friendly business last year.”

Darren Walden, chair of WACC, said: “Our cycling club started to use Happy Puccia as meeting place. We encourage our members to shop, eat and drink in Smith Street.

"The new community hub is the perfect place to welcome people to Smith Street and offer some secure storage, street art and it can be a focal point for Smith Street and the town.”

Going forward the team are looking to raise £9,900 to help create the hub and are asking for people to back them on their crowdfunding website.

To pledge money click hereLara and the team behind Warwick cycle hubs are in process of getting help and advice from local councils in the area about their project.

A spokesperson from Warwick District Council said: “Warwick District Council is keen to promote sustainable travel options, such as those proposed and is currently investigating the feasibility of a community bike scheme across the district, along similar lines to those operating in London.”

To keep up to date about Warwick cycle hubs click here