A Sunderland-based volunteer has won the Sustrans North of England award for outstanding commitment to volunteering. Andrea George took up cycling to help improve her health and now inspire others about the benefits of two-wheeled travel for mental and physical health.
Since 2015 Andrea George has committed 500 volunteering hours to two Sustrans projects: the women’s only cycling group Bike Belles and the community hub ‘Bike Dock’. She helps more people to try out cycling, by leading rides, bike maintenance sessions and learn to ride sessions for children.
“I'm absolutely delighted and surprised to receive this Volunteer Award from Sustrans.
“I've truly enjoyed every activity that I've been involved in. I love the feeling when a child gets to pedal away on two wheels for the first time, and you know you helped them on their way.
“It's great when local people join a ride and you take them to a little known place of interest, such as the Coastal Acoustic Mirror, past a military site, or along Bede's Way with its landmarks. They are like hidden gems that they never knew are on their doorstep.
“I've made loads of new friends, and of course improved my geographical knowledge of local coffee shops!”
Sarah Donnelly, Sustrans Volunteer Coordinator for the North said:
“As a trained volunteer, Andrea shares her skills and enthusiasm with others by delivering led rides, learn to ride sessions, bike maintenance workshops and promoting the work that we do. She is extremely dedicated and an inspiration to others.”
We have over 4000 volunteers in the UK, with 250 in the North East. There are many varied volunteer opportunities – including maintaining traffic-free sections on the National Cycle Network, to helping to conserve wildlife, to photography and videography skills.