Learning bike mechanics can be an empowering process. Assessing and overcoming refurbishment challenges improves numeracy, literacy, critical thinking and problem solving: useful and transferable skills which help those marginalised to progress to mainstream employment.
Bikes get dropouts back to school
Offenders at Lindholme and Everthorpe prisons are influencing high school dropouts in Ghana to go back to school.
The men in our prison workshops have been working hard to restore hundreds of bikes for the Avenues Bicycle Project, who ship the bikes from their base in Hull to communities in need overseas.
A shipment of more than 200 bikes are now being distributed in villages near the Ghana-Togo boundary.
Children who trek long distances to school are top on the list for one of the bikes, all of which are in top working order. One of those who rushed to get registered for a bike was 14-year-old Anita Adjei who quit school two months ago. The form 1 student said, “I asked my father to buy me a bicycle but, he says he has no money, I get tired walking for about 5 miles every day and have lost interest in education.”
At Bodada DA Junior High School in the same district, Haruna Issah 19, a form 2 student had also returned to register after quitting for one term.
Its not just the students – a number of teachers who walk long distances to the school have put in for transfers. Now they have bikes they are reconsidering their request to transfer.
Chris Jarrell, Project Coordinator at Avenue Bicycle Project, thanked the prisoners for their work. “These stories reinforce how important the bicycle recycling work you are all involved in is to people living, working and studying in Ghana.”
“It’s a privilege to be a part of this project” – Colin’s story at HMP Kirkham
What’s it really like for the men who work on our projects in prison? “Colin” is a 38-year-old single male offender who was originally serving his sentence at HMP Haverigg where he trained in our bike workshop. He was transferred to HMP Kirkham, a Category D (or “open”) prison in Lancashire, to serve the remainder of his sentence just after we opened a new bike project there. He is due for release in May 2014.
Our Technical Support Officer says that Colin has built up his bike repair skills and is working to a very high standard. He provides peer support, helping other participants in the workshop at Kirkham. The prison instructors have given him additional responsibilities to identify and log the parts needed by the workshop.
Colin served a custodial sentence for drug offences on a number of occasions and is separated from his three children who live with other family members. He now says he wants to move away from his offending behaviour and start a new, crime-free life. To help him achieve his ambition, we are supporting him to undertake additional training on the Velotech cycle repair and maintenance course through a day release programme. Colin hope to achieve the Gold level of accreditation which will be recognised by potential employers.
We are also in discussions with the prison to enable him to relocate to Northumberland when he is released. He has expressed an interest in volunteering and working in our Northumberland Community projects that currently in development and hopes he will be able to re-connect to his family in the North East.
But for now, he’s working hard to restore old bicycles for people in need and to build up his skills.
“It makes you feel good to do this – it makes me feel like I want to get up and come to work.”
“The project is brilliant – it makes you realise how bad things are for some people and I like that someone else is getting something because of what I do – it’s a privilege to be part of it.”
From a Lancashire jail to war-torn Sri Lanka
We connect prisoners to people in need all over the world. Watch the short video below – Wheelchairs from Lancashire – to see how wheelchairs restored by prisoners at Garth Prison in Lancashire have helped land mine victims in Sri Lanka — and given children in Chennai, India, mobility and independence. And please do share with friends and colleagues. Thanks!
MCF Bikes Reach Children in Kenya and The Gambia
MCF don’t just offer training to people in prison, and affordable cycling to disadvantaged communities. We also partner with organisations across the world, who identify a need for the people they help to have good, refurbished bikes donated. Take for example Wirral-based Pioneer People, who have been taking bikes expertly refurbished by our prison trainees and delivering them to partners in Africa for over five years. This summer, that meant orphaned kids in children’s homes in Kenya and The Gambia could get their very own bike, for cycling fun and to get to school. Here’s what Mark from Pioneer People says about their partnership with MCF.
“We have recently imported a truck and 120 bikes into Kenya and to our partner Sure 24 Children’s Home. Before the end of the year we plan to send 300 bikes to The Gambia and a further 120 bikes to Kenya. Many thanks for your continued support, we simply couldn’t do this without you and the links you have given us.”
Every bike you donate really does count, so please contact us if you and your neighbours have some bikes we could come and collect, or if your community group or school would like to organise a bike drive. Thanks for your support!
MCF Shipley Bikery :: Grand Opening 28th September!
After a short break whilst we looked for a new home, we’re very pleased to announce we’ve moved into 4 Thomas Duggan House, Manor Lane, Shipley BD18. This is a bit more of a central position, so we’re looking forward to even more visitors dropping by to check out our affordable bikes and bike maintenance service – please come and say hi!
We’ll be setting regular opening hours and looking for more volunteers once we have a feel for what would be right in our new position, so stop back here or sign up for our newsletter to stay informed.
Margaret Carey’s visit to HMP Kirkham
“Thank you very much indeed for a thoroughly enjoyable visit to the Margaret Carey Foundation. It is clearly going from strength to strength both in terms of your ability to raise funds and to increase the number of prison and community projects.
I was amazed at the visit to the mill to see all the donated stocks of bikes and other equipment, and agree with you that the building has great potential for other activities. The bike workshop in Shipley is clearly also going very well and literally provides a ‘shop window’ for the work of MCF and training opportunities for people in the community.
And our visit to HMP Kirkham yesterday was very enjoyable indeed. I must say I was pretty impressed that the No. 1 Governor was actually waiting in the workshop to meet us and spent a considerable amount of time talking about the work and what it means to him and to the prison. The men working with Ray Stewart and his staff are clearly very well motivated and getting a great deal from being involved. The prison itself and its range of work and activities is very impressive. Please pass on my thanks to everyone we met.”
And here’s what Governor Graham Beck said about MCF:
‘The MCF bicycle repair workshop offers a unique element of our establishment regime. Whilst other activities enable our men to learn new technical skills, and to improve employment prospects whilst serving their sentences, this workshop brings the added feature of teaching the men about outcomes for some of the most disadvantaged people in the world. By subtly teaching the men the value of recycling old and unwanted goods, through honest work; and then offering them to people who genuinely need the machines to enable them to go about their daily lives, they gain a real understanding about the values of a compassionate society, and of course, the motivational boost that comes with helping others. I am hopeful that the combination of technical skill and knowledge, thinking skills associated with adapting knowledge and skills, along with the learning about community, society and lives of others, will bring real benefits to the lives and prospects of our men.
The workshop is a thriving environment with a sense of purpose and values. Our instructor is a dedicated and passionate teacher who communicates the mission of the Margaret Carey Foundation whilst delivering a key part of the establishment regime. I am grateful for the support of the MC Foundation for the work that went into the setting up of the workshop and the ongoing provision of stock, and assistance developing the programme.’
Bike Maintenance Training Session with the Shipley Team
John and Charles, two of the mechanics from the MCF Shipley shop held a bike maintenance training session at the Shipley & Saltaire Wellness Centre on Thursday 16 June.
A team from the Wellness Centre were taking on a 2 day Leeds-Liverpool canal cycle challenge in July and we went along to teach them some basic checks and maintenance skills to keep their bikes in good order, making sure they could complete their cycle challenge.
Whether you are an individual, just cycling for fun or health, or part of a group taking on a more serious cycle challenge if you are interested in learning some basic bike maintenance skills then get in touch!
Contact Helen Rowlands, Fundraising & Development Officer
Teaching school kids bike maintenance
MCF Shipley Bike Hub staff and volunteers organised a lesson with a difference after Easter, when we went along to a Year 5 class at Fieldhead Carr Primary School to help pupils learn about bike maintenance. Both MCF and the school kids had a fantastic day, learning about safe cycling and good bike maintenance.
Children were asked to bring in their bikes and were given advice on:
- what to regularly check/maintain on their bikes,
- how to adjust their seats to the correct height and
- how to make any basic repairs.
The teacher invited us along to enthuse the class about bike maintenance as an introduction to the new book they were going to be studying. The class had such a great morning they are going to organise a bike collection for us. Thanks for having us, Fieldhead Carr!
Want to do the same? If your school or community group would like MCF to come along, email us to find out more about a group bike maintenance session. Contact email@example.com
NEW TRAINING WORKSHOP AT HMP HATFIELD
May 2016: MCF are delighted to be working in a new partnership with HMP/YOI Hatfield, with our new bike maintenance training workshop bringing our total number of prison projects to 14 workshops in 13 prisons. Here’s an update on progress so far from HMP/YOI Hatfield Communities Engagement Manager, Chris George.
“After your kind donation of tools and equipment, we were able to design and lay out a modest sized workshop at our Hatfield Lakes site, large enough to employ 5 men full time. The project has been a great experience so far for both myself and my Instructor, Bryan Rickatsen. From having no workshop space to operate a shop in or any tools or trained Instructor, thanks to the help and support of The Margaret Carey Foundation, we were able to open a workshop which in turn, is now providing an opportunity for the prisoners at Hatfield to gain new skills and perhaps thoughts of a potential career opportunity.
“Having spoken with you on several occasions and colleagues within the prison estate, most notably during visits to HMP Nottingham and HMP Lindholme’s workshops, I could see that a regular supply of bikes would be one of our biggest challenges. Fortunately, we have managed to secure a regular ‘flow’ from North Lincolnshire Council (NLC) in Scunthorpe. We have had pledges of bikes from the Police in South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire as well as the promise of bikes from councils in South and West Yorkshire but as yet due to the decent supply from NLC, I haven’t had to pursue these as yet.
“It is early days for the project having only opened 2 weeks ago but thus far, the prisoners are enjoying the work and getting great satisfaction from carrying out such valuable work for a worthwhile cause such as The Margaret Carey Foundation. It is hoped that as we progress and develop the shop further, we will be able to offer a qualification to the prisoners.”
MCF prison workshops: where we are
MCF is currently running projects in 10 prisons: Liverpool, Haverigg (Cumbria) Garth (Lancashire), Kirkham (Lancashire), Humberside, Kirklevington Grange (N Yorkshire), Northumberland, Lindholme (S Yorkshire), Buckley Hall and Nottingham.
In 2015, we launched two new community bike projects, MCF Shipley Community Bike Hub in Shipley BD18 and MCF Bradford Bikery (in partnership with InCommmunities Group Ltd) in central Bradford. These two projects have become thriving community assets in a short space of time, and we are currently developing our training schedule. If you would like to get involved as a volunteer or would like bike maintenance training at your school or community group, we’d be pleased to hear from you so get in touch!
In the last year we have sent refurbished wheelchairs and bikes to overseas aid projects in South Africa, Fiji, Sri Lanka, the Ukraine and Belarus; and in England to families and individuals in Bradford and Bolton.
E-cards and Social Media
Send e-cards to Support MCF on Special Occasions
Whatever the occasion you want to acknowledge and celebrate , whether it’s a birthday , Christmas, Engagement, New Home or New baby you can support MCF by sending e-cards.
This is how it works
1. Select your cause: Select Margaret Carey Foundation from the DontSendMeACard.com website here to support us with the cost of buying and sending greeting cards.
2. Compose an e-card: Choose an e-card image, write a personal message, and choose how much you would have spent on cards.
3. Donate: You can then make your donation via PayPal or credit card. Donations are sent instantly to MCF.
4. Send your e-cards: You can then send up 100 e-cards to friends and family. You can send these all in one-hit, or one at a time. You can also edit the personal message by clicking on it below the e-card preview in the left sidebar.
Challenges and Sponsorship
If you have a place in an event like the Great North Run, the London Marathon or any sporting event then why not raise sponsorship for Margaret Carey Foundation? You may be organising your own event and want to raise sponsorship to support Margaret Carey Foundation.
You can easily set up an online sponsorship page at
Once you have set up your page, maximise your sponsorship by emailing the link to all your friends and family and remember to share your page on social media.
Alternatively, email: firstname.lastname@example.org to request a paper sponsor form.
If we can support your fundraising in any way then please get in touch!
Organise a bike collection day
We’re in urgent need of old bikes!
A constant supply of used bikes is essential for our trainees to learn how to fix a variety of problems on a variety of bikes. Recycling bikes also helps the environment: in our first 5 years, MCF saved 7,112 bikes and 711 wheelchairs from landfill, putting them back into service where they were most needed. That’s about 6000 tonnes of waste diverted. And we plan to recycle even more.
Since we are often not allowed to collect old bikes from amenity tips, we rely on community groups and companies to organise bike collection days for us. Any condition of bike is gratefully received and this way, everyone who donates a bike knows it’s going straight to a good cause.
Could your school, company, community group or rotary club organise a bike collection day for MCF?
Step 1: Get it touch with us to tell us your plans and let us know if you have a date set for your bike collection, so that we can book our van driver to come and collect the bikes. If you’re holding your bike collection day in a public place (like a car park), you’ll have to get permission from the council (we can help you contact the right people).
Step 2: We will send you a PDF flyer for your bike collection day, which groups normally print and circulate through letterboxes and on noticeboards a couple of weeks beforehand. We will also send you JPGs of the same notice for your Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Step 3: Make a day of it, and make it fun! Some groups give everyone who donates a sticker, some a pint of beer! Have lots of volunteers on hand to help people unload from their cars, and sort the bikes into sizes.
Step 4: Our van driver can take up to 40 bikes at a time, so depending on how many bikes you get donated, we might need your help to organise additional transport or temporary storage.
Step 5: You did it! MCF will send your group an official certificate thanking your for your help, stating how many bikes were donated and where theses will go to. Time to start planning next year’s collection…
Bike and Wheelchair Collections 2015: where did the bikes go?
Many thanks to everyone involved in collecting bikes for MCF in 2015. The Rotary Clubs of Ilkley Wharfedale and Keighley both held collection days for Margaret Carey Foundation in 2015 collecting over 100 bikes to be refurbished in Margaret Carey Foundation workshops.
The Rotary Club of Ilkley Wharfedale also collected spectacles, which were refurbished and sent to West Africa by the Specsort Rotary Charity.
If you belong to a group that might consider organising a bike collection day in your area then we would love to hear from you. We need a regular supply of bikes to keep our workshops running and any donations of bikes, bike parts and wheelchairs, whatever the condition, will be gratefully accepted.
Fundraise at work for MCF
Could you fundraise at work to support MCF?
Do you run a shop, pub or any other type of business that has regular visits from members of the public – then why not request a Margaret Carey Foundation collecting tin? We will deliver/ send one to you then all you will need to do is encourage people to fill it with all their spare change. We’ll be in touch approximately once a quarter to arrange to count and bank all the donations.
Does your organisation have a Charity of the Year scheme?
Why not nominate MCF to benefit from all your workplace fundraising for the year. Alternatively, please get in touch to let us know how we can put ourselves forward.
If you have any ideas for workplace fundraising that you would like to discuss please get in touch, we would love to hear from you!