Charitable donation to fund cycle maintenance course for SPEAR clients
The South West Trains- Network Rail Alliance charity committee has chosen Twickenham based charity, SPEAR as one of its 2014 charities of the year.
SPEAR is a South London based charity helping homeless and vulnerable people progress to live full independent lives.

The Alliance donation of £2,201.60 will go towards funding a cycle maintenance course for SPEAR clients which is part of a wider Skills and Development programme that is intended to give clients self-esteem and the ability and confidence to live independently and not return to the debilitating conditions of sleeping rough.
The project is an accredited (AQA), eight week long course titled An Introduction to Bicycle Maintenance that will enable SPEAR clients to gain a basic understanding of how to fix and maintain a bicycle. Anyone showing strength in the area, or who wishes to take it further will be actively encouraged to take a CYTEC course which is a qualification that can enable them to become a professional bicycle mechanic. This can lead to successfully gaining full time employment. Members of the committee are also exploring other ways to support the charity through volunteering opportunities, fundraising and awareness campaigns.

Chair of the Alliance charity committee Kat O’Malley said, “We are delighted to be supporting SPEAR and the work they do. We already have a strong relationship with the charity as we donate abandoned bikes to the group for renovation so it makes sense to adopt them as one of our charities of the year. By funding additional training course and getting further involved with their life changing work we hope to have a valuable impact on the people who benefit directly from their work.”

The charity panel will also be exploring other ways that they can support the charity including;
·        fundraising
·        bucket collections and carol singing at stations
·        helping with maintenance and decoration at their hostel
·       raising awareness of the charity with both staff and passengers
·       donations of train tickets

SPEAR’s CEO, Stuart Nevill said: “Homelessness is a growing problem in South West London.  We are delighted that the South West Trains- Network Rail Alliance has selected SPEAR as their new Charity of the Year partner, enabling us to continue to take our clients on a journey from homelessness to independence.”

The South West Trains- Network Rail Alliance supported SPEAR in October by inviting them to hold collection days at Richmond, Twickenham and Kingston stations. The charity raised £1,361 and looks forward to many more similar events across the network. The South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance charity committee donates £10,000 every year to chosen charities of the year. Allocation of the remaining budget will be made in December 2014.