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!
Fundraising Folk Evening
On Friday 7th April The Wild Geese will be putting on a folk evening at The Octagon to raise funds for MCF.
Irish folk artist James Garvey will also be performing with further acts to be added to the line-up.
Tickets cost £7 and can be bought from the MCF Bikery, Shipley or online at
Book Early to avoid disappointment!
Wellness Centre Adopts MCF as Charity of the Year 2017
The Shipley and Saltaire Wellness Centre have chosen to support the Margaret Carey Foundation as their Charity of the Year 2017.
The Wellness Centre has been open for 3 years and has chosen to support the Margaret Carey Foundation for a whole year. The centre has a good history of supporting local causes having raised over £10, 000 since their opening, through a variety of events including a sponsored bike ride along the Leeds to Liverpool Canal last July.
David and Nicola Procter, who run the Wellness Centre, first came across the MCF Bikery when they were completing their sponsored Leeds – Liverpool canal bike ride in July 2016. Some of the customers of the Wellness Centre who took part in the challenge bought their bikes from the MCF Bikery in Shipley. MCF ran a bike maintenance session for the participants to help them check their bikes were in good working order and teach them to make any basic repairs that they might need to deal with whilst on their cycle challenge.
The Wellness Centre are planning various fundraising activities for the Margaret Carey Foundation throughout the year starting with a collecting tin on the counter with a virtual bike ride around the charities projects later this year. The Margaret Carey Foundation has guaranteed places in the Maserati Tour De Yorkshire Sportive and are hoping that there will be some riders from the Wellness Centre.
David Procter says: “we have been very impressed with the work they do, they’ve helped us in the past and they are a local charity to us too”
For details of the Shipley and Saltaire Wellness Centre go to: shipleysaltairewellnesscentre.co.uk
Thanks to the Wellness for adopting MCF as their charity of the year, we’ll keep everyone updated with progress and news of events.
Old Airedale Hospital Wheelchairs Given New Life Thanks to MCF
OLD wheelchairs from Airedale Hospital are being recycled to help poverty-stricken disabled people overseas.
The wheelchairs, some of them up to 17 years old, are taken to HMP Garth Prison in Chorley where they are stripped down, rebuilt and repaired in the MCF prison workshop.
So far, about 40 wheelchairs have been supplied by the mobility team at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust.
Volunteer occupational therapists then carry out clinical assessments to ensure the suitability of the chairs, before our partner charity PhysioNet transports them to deprived areas in countries including Fiji, Ghana, Benin, Swaziland and South Africa.
Michelle West, mobility services manager at the trust, said its wheelchairs were always refurbished several times before being replaced and would otherwise be scrapped if they weren’t donated to the scheme.
She added: “This is a fabulous partnership between our hospital, the prison and two local charities and volunteer therapists working back-to-back.
“We are really proud to be involved in this ‘green’ venture, as it enables the trust to be environmentally friendly and promotes sustainable communities whilst giving hope to many people with disabilities living in poverty overseas.
“It also helps to reduce our costs of scrapping mobility equipment.”
It is hoped other health services in the region may also get involved in the initiative.
David Brown, director of the Margaret Carey Foundation, said the project was life-changing for recipients of the chairs.
He spotlighted the case of a boy in India, who before receiving a wheelchair had to drag himself across an earthen floor to attend English language classes.
“When we gave this boy his new wheelchair – which had to be specially adapted due to the shape of his body – a beautiful smile spread over his face,” said Mr Brown.
“This venture makes such a tremendous difference to people’s lives.”
He added that when a video of the boy receiving his wheelchair was shown to one prisoner, it had a profound effect.
“He resolved there and then to amend his ways and reject his life of crime,” said Mr Brown.
“Seeing the video made him realise just how lucky he was compared to the boy in India.”
David Kaye – chairman of PhysioNet – said the charity had been collecting redundant special needs, disability and mobility equipment from health organisations across the UK for the past 16 years to reuse in developing countries.
“Our relationship with the Margaret Carey Foundation is a perfect match,” he added.
“It has access to prison workshops for repairing wheelchairs and we have a growing number of organisations abroad desperate for our equipment.”
Tour De Yorkshire 2017
Want to be a part of the biggest cycling event in Yorkshire?
The Maserati Tour de Yorkshire Ride offers a unique mix of Tour de France delivery combined with Yorkshire hospitality and beauty resulting in a sportive dream day.
Taking place on the 3rd and final day of the Tour de Yorkshire (Sunday 30th April), this is your chance to ride many of the same roads as the pros before they do, including the pro finish line, complete with support from the waiting crowds.
With three routes available (long route 100km, medium route 75 km and short route 45km) this once in a lifetime experience really isn’t to be missed for any biking enthusiasts out there.
Margaret Carey Foundation has been lucky enough to secure guaranteed places in the ride and we want you to join our team.
To enter all we ask is that all cyclists to pledge to raise a minumum of £150 in sponsorship for MCF. All TEam MCF cyclists will receive a cycling jersey to wear during the event.
The money raised by the cyclists in this event will help fund a new MCF van. With over 200,000 miles on the clock our current van is coming to the end of it’s working life and urgently needs to be replaced. Reliable transport is important for all organisations but for MCF it is simply crucial: being able to upply prison sites is fundamental to our day to day operations, as is getting refurbished bikes from the prison down to community projects for bike sales or donations.
The Tour De Yorkshire is a popular event and is sure to sell out quickly, if you would like to join Team MCF be a part of this unique cycling opportunity then please get in touch today!
Bradford Bikery :: Training young mechanics
Bike to the Future! Youth mechanics programme
We’re excited to be working with our partners to provide learning opportunities for young people in two locations across Bradford. We’ve filled the first of these, which is a 4-week course based at Bradford Bikery in partnership with Incommunities and Bradford City Council giving young people the chance to earn a bicycle maintenance qualification, plan a bike ride and keep the bike they have fixed plus free light helmet and lock!
The Bike to the Future programme has been developed with one of our volunteers and we’ll be delivering a second later in the year on the Scholemoor estate in partnerhip with Scholemoor Community Centre and Fresh Start 4U funded by the Big Lottery.
Based within social housing in Little Horton, near Bradford city centre, Bradford Bikery are also working with the Brathay Trust and Princes Trust to provide work placements for young mechanics who will be recycling bikes this autumn at the Bikery. In partnership with Fresh Start 4U, Bradford Bikery are very pleased to have supported one of our core volunteers in finding full time work.
Training courses and cycling opportunities are being announced all the time, so email email@example.com for details and to stay posted.
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 by Judge Thomas!
Honorary Recorder of Bradford, Judge Roger Thomas QC officially opened the new Shipley Bikery at 4 Thomas Duggan House, Manor Lane, Shipley on Thursday 26 October. We were also delighted to be joined by Chief Superintendent Scott Bisset, Bradford District Commander of West Yorkshire Police and other interested parties from Bradford based cycling organisations.
The Shipley Bikery is open on Wednesdays (11-7) and Thursdays (10-6) selling quality refurbished bikes. We also offer affordable servicing and repairs and free bike maintenance advice and training. Starting in December we will be opening 5 days a week and need more volunteers to support our longer opening hours. If you love bikes and would like to find out more about volunteering the please get in touch email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07874 627801. No bike maintenance qualifications are necessary as training will be given, you just need to be enthusiastic about bikes and cycling.
Many thanks to Stephen Simper for taking the fabulous pictures of the opening for us.
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