A grassroots North East charity specialising in refurbishing donated bicycles has been able to take it up a gear and expand their services – thanks to a £7,000 cash boost.
Set up in 2006, each year Recyke y’bike, based in Byker and Durham, saves thousands of unwanted bikes from landfill.
Instead, a team of specialist mechanics and volunteers refurbish the rescued machines, giving them away to people in need or selling them at an affordable price.
Sarah Newson, General Manager at Recyke y’bike, explained how it works, saying: “Parts that can be salvaged are stripped, cleaned, and re-used, either in refurbishments of other bikes or made available in the shop so people who want to do their own repairs can access quality, used parts at affordable prices. The rest of the bike is then stripped, and the component parts are recycled.”
The charity also provides formal and informal maintenance training, including women-only sessions and working with asylum seekers and refugees, to help people across the region learn how to keep their bikes in good repair and acquire new skills.
The money comes from a successful crowdfunding campaign – via #CrowdfundNorthofTyne – in which generous members of the public raised £4,500.
A £2,400 donation from the North of Tyne Combined Authority (NTCA), headed by Metro Mayor Jamie Driscoll, then helped push Recyke y’bike to achieve its fundraising target. The funding has provided a part-time qualified bike mechanic to share their skills with dozens of new local volunteers.
Sara continued “The funding helps us to deal effectively with bikes that otherwise can’t be refurbished in a cost-effective way. The money is enabling us to keep pace with bicycle donations, invest in our volunteer training, and ensure our processes are as efficient and effective as possible.”
During a recent visit to the charity’s Byker branch, the elected Mayor and avid cyclist met with Ahmed Elsay who has been coming to the project weekly for the last six months – enjoying the friendly atmosphere and banter with other volunteers.
For Ahmed, who is disabled and has a background in engineering, learning how to repair bikes with Recyke y’bike has been key to his rehabilitation – boosting his fine motor skills, coordination, and self-confidence. “I’ve really enjoyed coming to Recyke y’bike these past six months. I think the sessions combine therapeutic benefit with my own personal interests”, he said.
Bob Wassell, a retired dentist, told the Mayor how helping out the charity has been a great way for him to keep active socially – working with many of his friends, meeting new people, and having a good laugh together.
Mayor Jamie Driscoll said: “Charities like Recyke y’bike have never been more needed. They’re helping to combat the climate emergency – by getting people cycling. They’re helping to combat the cost of living crisis – by giving bikes to those in need and helping people learn to make do and mend when they can’t afford or don’t want to buy anew. And they’re bringing together our communities and teaching valuable new skills while doing it. Fantastic.”
Created by the NTCA, #CrowdfundNorthofTyne gives local people the opportunity to create and fund projects which celebrate and improve their local areas.
Want to learn how to fix your own bike (includes women only sessions)? Click here: https://recyke.bike/training/