Prisoners recycling bikes for charity

Cllr Jackie Smith, Catherine Von Altheer from Cancer Research UK, Emily Thomas Governor of HMP Isis and bike workshop manager Dara Koyejo

An innovative bike reuse programme run by the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP) is helping turn around young people’s lives.

Bikes dropped off at the Council’s Recycling Centre are being sent to the prison in Western Way, Thamesmead where a bicycle repair and training workshop has been established.

The workshop not only refurbishes and repairs bikes but also provides specialist training to young prisoners. The rejuvenated bicycles, which now number around 180,  have been sent to Cancer Research UK for resale as part of the council’s initiatives to make cycling accessible and affordable for all.

The programme helps prisoners gain valuable skills and increases their future employment opportunities.  When they complete their training, they achieve the internationally recognised level 1 Cytech bicycle technician qualification.

First started in December 2016, the project has saved nearly four tonnes of bikes from the scrap heap and raised nearly £7000 for Cancer Research UK.

Councillor Jackie Smith, cabinet member for community safety and environment, said: “This extremely worthwhile programme gives prisoners a chance to move forward in their life and gain a respected qualification in bike engineering while recycling bikes and raising money for charity. It’s a testament to what we can achieve when working with local partners and I am delighted to support such an innovative scheme which is also changing people’s lives.”

Governor of HMP Isis Emily Thomas, said: “This is a great programme for all of the prisoners at our repair shop. It helps them gain experience working in an industry some of them may never have worked in before while picking up valuable skills and a qualification which is very well respected on the job market. We are proud to be working in partnership with the Royal Borough to deliver this great recycling programme.”

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