Friends of Thetford Forest (FoTF) Projects
One of the aims of Friends of Thetford Forest is to improve access to the forest for everyone, especially at High Lodge Forest Centre and FoTF have been active in a number of ways to achieve this.
2021 saw FoTF celebrate the award of a grant from the Local Connections Fund which means wheelchair users can once again enjoy the forest by bike at High Lodge Centre with their families and friends. The previous wheelchair platform bike, purchased in 2008, had been in such demand that it was beyond repair and regrettably could no longer be used and had to be taken out of service.
This replacement transporter bike will enable wheelchair users to remain in their own chair while another person powers the actual bike. The platform at the front of the bike is operated to move down and the wheelchair itself is reversed onto the platform and is strapped and clamped into place and then the platform is moved gently up to above ground level. It is ideal for users who have a complex seating system in their own wheelchair that would normally make transferring impossible, or have mobility problems making transferring difficult.
The transporter bike can hired from BikeArt at High Lodge, whom we are also grateful to for generously donating to FoTF to assist with the purchase, in an arrangement with the Friends of Thetford Forest.
For enquiries and booking arrangements please telephone BikeArt on 01842 810090.
Friends of Thetford Forest also previously purchased a wheelchair which can be used by visitors to the site or in emergencies (more details are available from the Information Point at High Lodge).
The picture, left, shows the new wheelchair being admired by the Monday Volunteers and Forestry Commission staff at High Lodge.
In 2008 FoTF purchased a small range of cycles for those with limited ability to ride a conventional bicycle. This range included a tricycle that incorporated a platform with secure fastenings for the user's own wheelchair, and for those with sensory deprivation such as profound deafness or partial sight or who would otherwise be unsafe riding conventional bikes there were tandems. All of these specialised cycles were donated by Friends of Thetford Forest.
The demand for the wheelchair platform bike over the years was so great that it was beyond repair and had to be removed from service. FoTF once again worked to fund the purchase of a new model (see above) which not only has a platform for a wheelchair but has a protective rainproof cover as well.
A leaflet promoting them was also produced for visitors which they could request from FoTF.