Lincoln bike repair scheme to provide new skills for unemployed

A new project aimed at boosting the confidence and job prospects for unemployed people by teaching them bike maintenance skills has begun in Lincoln.

Cycle Recycle is an eight-week pilot project run by Lincolnshire County Council’s Community Engagement team in partnership with the city council, Lincolnshire Police, LincolnShare and other charities and voluntary organisations.

Any adult bike, in any condition, can be used by the project based at St Swithin’s Community Centre on Croft Street as participants restore and repair the donated cycles.

Those involved will be able to keep the bike that they have restored to working order at the end of the project.

So far, 56 bikes have been donated, 30 of which have come from homelessness charity Framework, but more are needed to ensure that the project runs for the whole eight weeks.

Those taking part in the first four weeks have been referred to the project by specialist drug and alcohol treatment charity Addaction.

Lincoln Green Party activist Peaceful Warrior, who is collecting bikes for the project, said: “We need people at a grassroots level to get involved in projects such as this which are not about making money but are instead about inspiring people and removing social isolation.”

James Irvine repairing a bike. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

James Irvine repairing a bike. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

One of those currently involved in the programme is 33-year-old Lincoln resident James Irvine, who has relied on help from Addaction on and off for a number of years.

He said: “I have a young family so when we go cycling in the park I can now fix their bikes for them – or teach them how to instead!

“If this project continues, I’d definitely be interested in coming back in the future to help people as the skills and social interaction here is invaluable.”

Another participant, 28-year-old Laura Harris, added: “I rely on my bike to get around as I can’t always afford the bus so it’s important for me to learn these new skills.

“Everyone here has been really enthusiastic and helpful and it rubs off on us all.

“I’d definitely recommend it to anyone in a similar position to myself – what’s not to like?”

Peaceful Warrior and Laura Harris at the Cycle Recycle project in Lincoln. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Peaceful Warrior and Laura Harris at the Cycle Recycle project in Lincoln. Photo: Steve Smailes for The Lincolnite

Hester Kapur, community advisor for the county council, added: “Nothing like this has ever been done in Lincoln – it’s completely unique.”

The county council is already planning on meeting with partners to discuss the possibility of extending the scheme beyond the pilot phase by applying for additional grants.

To arrange for a cycle to be collected call LincolnShare 07841 910092.