UPDATE: Change of plan… the bike ride will start from Sunningdale at 9.15 on Saturday 3rd March as the train track between Staines and Windsor is being repaired. If you do plan on coming there is a train leaving Twickeham at 8.40am which arrives in time for the 9.15 departure. Please let Gill Timmis (gill_timmis@talk21.com) know if you intend coming.

A sponsored Bike Ride for Bulgarian Children is scheduled for Saturday 3rd  March 2007 from Windsor to Waterloo. Meet at Windsor and Eton Station at 9.00 am, with a lunch stop at Twickenham Yacht Club, Riverside.

The ride starts at 9.00 at Windsor and Eton Riverside Station with a lunch stop (12.30 to 1.30 ish) at Twickenham Yacht Club, Riverside, Twickenham. (Supporters and ‘half way’ joiners/leavers welcome). It is expected that we will arrive at Waterloo Station by 5.00 approximately (if not earlier). You are asked to raise sponsorship or make a donation of £50 (or more) to support the Bulgarian ‘Joining up’ project.

We will be raising funds for the ‘Joining Up’ project in Bulgaria linking young people living in institutions with school and college students in their local communities. The initial stages of the project will set up two initiatives; links will be set up between the young people in the institution for 8-18 year olds suffering mental health disabilities in the isolated village of Iskra, with social work and law students from the university in Burgas (on the Black Sea coast). The second initiative proposed is that a group of students from a school in Kurdjali, in South East Bulgaria, will involve young people living in an institution in Krumovgrad in joint activities. There are proposals for trips out, weekend expeditions, drama and art workshops and the joint production of magazines.

In Bulgaria 10,000 children are brought up in ‘State Institutions’ or ‘orphanages’, few of these children are ‘orphans’ and few are adopted, many of the children are from the Roma community, a large and very disadvantaged minority ethnic group; many remain in the institutions throughout their childhoods. Efforts are being made to prevent children entering the institutions, but those children who continue to live in these residential units, particularly those with special needs, are often isolated and have limited opportunities for mixing with their peers.