Tim Dickeson for Cardiff and Vale Parents Federation
Most people would be sick and tired of pedalling after cycling the length of both Wales and the UK.
But Malcolm Jones, Education Manager at Amelia Trust Farm, is taking to his bike once more in the name of charity in his biggest challenge yet. This time, he’ll be cycling over 2,000 miles from Athens, Greece to Cardiff Bay in a bid to raise £10,000 for Amelia Trust, a charity which helps disadvantaged young people.
Mr Jones hopes his cycle will inspire the young people he works with. He said: “The whole point of this cycle is to show the young people that they can do anything they want if they put their minds to it. It inspires the young people to look at the bigger picture, that they can do anything they want with their lives.”
The 35-year-old from Barry is no stranger to physical challenges. In 2009, he trekked the length of the Great Wall of China and in 2010 he cycled both the Lon Las Cymru, from Holyhead to Cardiff, as well as Land’s End to John O’Groats.
The route Mr Jones plans to take will take him from Greece, to Italy, Switzerland and France before he eventually makes the home stretch through England to Cardiff Bay. To complete the challenge, he’s been given one week leave and has taken two weeks of his own holiday and will be joined by Gareth Bennett, a student youth worker at the project.
He said: “We’ll be there during the height of Summer, so we’ll be cycling early mornings and late evenings to avoid most of the heat.”
His main aim for the money is to build an independent living centre at the farm, which will be part of a project to teach crucial life skills to disadvantaged young people from across the Vale and Cardiff. Mr Jones, who has worked at Amelia Trust for nine years, said: “The centre will offer a range of life and independent living skills to different groups. These skills might be as simple as tying their shoelaces, helping them to understand adolescence or even how to run a business.”
In his role at the farm, Mr Jones works closely with the young people who benefit from what the project already offers and hopes the independent living centre will aid them further. He said: “I think with the majority of care homes being closed down and children being put into independent living they rarely get the skills or the support networks to look after themselves efficiently.”
Mr Jones’s aim is to raise enough money to install a kitchen in an unused room on the farm to teach cooking skills as well as adding a launderette so the young people could learn how to run a business.
Amelia Trust Farm has to raise close to £700,000 a year to ensure they can continue helping young people with their social development. Last year, the Farm helped 120 young people.
Mr Jones said: “75 per cent of the kids returned to school or moved onto further education and employment. The project is doing really well."
“We have such a small-staffed team that it means it’s more than just a nine to five job. Staff don’t work there just for the money, they are passionate to see the young people succeed in life. Our success lies within the entire team.”
This is likely to be Mr Jones’s last challenge for a while. He said: “As far as physical challenges go, I don’t think I’ll do anything else after this. I would like to swim the channel though, but I can’t swim very well so I’m not sure about that!”
The challenge begins on July 22. To donate to the cause, contact Malcolm Jones on 01446 782030 or send donations to Amelia Trust Farm, Five Mile Lane, Barry.