ON THEIR BIKES: Students from the STEPS Pathway College were very pleased with their bikes.
ON THEIR BIKES: Students from the STEPS Pathway College were very pleased with their bikes. Melanie Keyte

Charity ride raises $20K for independence college

DEDICATED Coast cyclists jumped on their bikes for the gruelling 10-hour ride from Toowoomba to Mooloolaba last month to raise money for the STEPS Pathways College.

Now the college has opened, facilitators could put the $20,000 raised to good use and bought six bikes for their students, three two-wheelers and three tricycles.

STEPS charity manager Angela Miles said the bikes would make a huge difference to the students' lives.

"They can go out for day outings, they can use it as part of their exercise regime, and since the tricycles have little baskets on the back, they have the ability to duck down to the shops for something,” Ms Miles said.

"They're so excited.”

The college aims to provide independent living, training and education for people living with disabilities and is the first of its kind in Australia.

Students live semi- independently for 12 months at the Caloundra facility before they graduate into the broader community with skills to be self-sufficient.

Founder of the ride, known as TOOMOO, Dave Fellows said he was "overwhelmed” by the support of more than 100 participating cyclists and countless volunteers.

"This year has been our biggest TOOMOO yet and we couldn't have done it without everyone's input,” Mr Fellows said.

"We're thrilled to have been able to support STEPS Charity to help create more opportunities for young people living with a disability.”

The ride started at 6am and finished in Mooloolaba at 5.30pm.

Ms Miles said the riders' energy once they crossed the finish line was inspiring to watch.

"To see the cyclists and the whole community

come together to support STEPS Charity and our Pathways College was something really special,” she said.

"The funds will help us fund the ongoing needs of the college and we can't wait to see some students make use of the bikes TOOMOO has purchased!”

STEPS college students said they were pleased with the bikes, and spent an enjoyable afternoon last week riding around the facility.



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