AS CYCLISTS grease their wheels and limber their legs for the 2016 Royal Far West Ride for Country Kids, which pushes off from Port Macquarie on Sunday, president of the Nambucca River Festival, Rod Edwards, will be in the peleton.
With 25 per cent of Royal Far West services delivered to kids on the coast, the ride aims to raise awareness of and support the needs of these children, which in Rod’s case means those who live in the Nambucca Valley.
“People often think of RFW as being for kids out in western NSW but last year the organisation was here with their Healthy Kids Bus Stop. The results showed the need here is as great as anywhere else,” Rod told the Guardian.
“I am riding to start creating networks to support a Royal Far West project in this community.
“The new project will mean a far greater number of Nambucca Valley children with developmental problems will have access to what the organisation can offer.
“As there are limited spots at the Manly residence, we are hoping to use tele-health to connect clinicians with kids without the need for either to travel.”
Rod said RFW was ready to roll and the Nambucca Valley was one of two districts chosen as a starting point.
“The benefits are obvious - with the support of speech and occupational therapists, children with developmental difficulties can improve their school results and their ability to contribute.”
Rod said the project had already received significant corporate backing but needed local fundraising.
“The first meeting of the local team will be on March 7 - after the ride.
“I am with Rotary and we are also talking to the local Lions clubs - I believe this project is too big for just one service club.”
The ride will be in the Nambucca Valley on Monday with all riders and support crew attending a barbecue hosted by Macksville Rotary Club at the Macksville football club from 6pm.
Members of the public are welcome to come and meet the riders, including SBS cycling guru Mike Tomalaris (cost $10 per person).