Youngsters revamp bikes for Africa

TEENAGERS are overhauling unwanted bicycles in a bid to help communities in Africa.The group of around six 14 to 19-year-olds from Ipswich are aiming to revamp a bike each – one for themselves and one to send out to disadvantaged communities in Africa.

TEENAGERS are overhauling unwanted bicycles in a bid to help communities in Africa.

The group of around six 14 to 19-year-olds from Ipswich are aiming to revamp a bike each - one for themselves and one to send out to disadvantaged communities in Africa.

The project is based in the town's Bramford Road Methodist Church and is being run by the church and Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

Cal Webster, youth worker for Bramford Road Methodist Church, said: "The project will help the youngsters look at other peoples' lives, empathise and realise they have the power to help.

"Owning a bike in some African countries means the difference between having a job and being destitute. We are very grateful to those who have supported this initiative."

Jonathan Tyler, youth worker for Suffolk Wildlife Trust, said the project will also help the environment by promoting sustainable transport.

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He said: "It will involve recycling old bike parts and second-hand bikes - mostly donations and old police bikes.

"It will give young people the opportunity to learn new skills and develop a sense of value, as well as alerting them to sustainability and global environmental issues."

At the end of the project, the teenagers will have the chance to put their completed bikes to the test by taking part in a sponsored cycle ride and by cycling to Suffolk Wildlife Trust nature reserves in the area.

The bikes to be exported will be sent to the charity Re-Cycle, which collects unwanted bikes and parts in the UK and ships them to developing countries.

Sue Lockyear, a spokeswoman for Re-Cycle, said: "Owning a bike helps people in developing countries help themselves.

"Major beneficiaries include children, who walk up to nine miles each way to school, farm workers and women whose day often includes multiple journeys to fetch water and go to market."

Re-Cycle said Royal Mail is their greatest source of bikes that would have otherwise been discarded, donating more than 1,000 a year.

Anybody who has spare BMX parts, an old bike they would like to donate, or has bike expertise and would like to help out, can call Jonathan Tyler on 01473 890089.

Weblink:

www.re-cycle.org

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