Gordon Miller, a double Cycling Guinness World Record Holder, will launch the ‘Freewheel by Ride For Freedom Hub’ in Barking & Dagenham on 25 March 2022. The opening will take place on the UN International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade with a cycle starting at Dagenham & Redbridge FC.

The route will go via Barking Town Hall and take in several anti-slavery landmarks before finishing at the Buxton Memorial at Victoria Tower Gardens beside the Houses of Parliament, SW1.

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, said: “This borough has historically led the way in fighting for justice, equality and decency, which is why we’re proud to support Gordon and his superb campaigning against the scourge of modern-day slavery.”

The Freewheel remediation programme empowers survivors – women, children and men – of modern slavery and human trafficking to cycle to support their physical and mental health, independence, mobility, and their reintegration into society. At Freewheel Barking & Dagenham, during 2022, 20-30 survivors, referred by charities Hesta and STOP THE TRAFFIK, will be given a bike and accessories and training in cycling proficiency and road awareness. The training will be delivered by Vandome Cycles, through the national cycle training programme, Bikeability.

Pat Hayes, Managing Director for Be First, the borough’s regeneration arm, said: “Gordon’s work in the fight against modern slavery is truly inspiring. We’re proud to support him and The Freewheel programme which is an outstanding example of providing practical help to the victims of modern day slavery. It’s deeds not words which count.”

Miller, who is the Founder and Team Leader of Ride For Freedom, will be joined on 25 March by more than 20 cyclists from the Freewheel Barking & Dagenham Hub’s partners, including Be First, Berkeley Homes, Countryside Properties, EcoWorld, L&Q, Wates, Weston Homes, and Willmott Dixon. Councillor Darren Rodwell, the Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council, will meet up with the cyclists alongside non-cycling representatives from the contractors, Ride For Freedom’s charity partners and Barking & Dagenham Cycling Club.

He said: “Slavery was abolished almost 200 years ago (1833) but modern slavery remains all around us, often hidden in plain sight. More than 40 million people worldwide are enslaved at any given time and thousands in the U.K. Today, the UN International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, I’m delighted that Ride For Freedom and our Barking & Dagenham Freewheel Hub partners have come together to launch the Hub, and harness the universal appeal of cycling to unite our voices and advocate to ‘End Modern Slavery’.”

Be First London