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!
New Workshop at HMP Risley
Earlier this year a group from HMP Risley came to the MCF Bradford Bikery to complete their Advanced Bike Maintenance training. We are now delighted to announce that the workshop at HMP Risley is up and running, taking it’s first group of trainees on at the end of July.
The workshop can accommodate up to 15 trainees at a time and we are hoping that the HMP Rispley workshop proves as popular as MCF bike workshops in the other prisons we work in.
They may be fixing bikes in the workshop but they have come up with a more creative name for it. Instead of just being the MCF bike workshop it will be known as the CHAINS workshop – Change, Help, Advance In New Skills.
2017 could be a hugely successful year for MCF with the new workshops in Ashworth Hospital and now HMP Risley. We are at an advanced stage with another prison and hope to be able to announce another bike maintenance workshop before the end of the year. Watch this space…………
New Bike Workshop at Ashworth Hospital
New Bike Maintenance Workshop launched in Ashworth Hospital
Improving opportunities and employability is one of the steps towards recovery and Mersey Care shares this mission with the Margaret Carey Foundation.
Patients at Ashworth Hospital are working with the Margaret Carey Foundation and have co-produced their own course to inspire skill development and meaningful activity refurbishing cycles.
Ashworth Hospital is for patients who require treatment and care in conditions of high security, it is not a prison but many of its patients have come from that environment. Ashworth provides recovery focused treatment for patients and staff.
The two are working together to improve life chances for people locally and around the world. Patients are developing a positive work ethic, gaining useful skills and becoming better prepared for employment as they move on in their recovery.
Tracy Mcadam, recovery team leader at Ashworth Hospital said: “When patients are admitted to Ashworth Hospital, some are at a really low point and learning new skills can be difficult but we all work to encourage people to try something new.
Now there is such a buzz around the hospital we had 14 sign up for the course before it had been advertised! Some are very unwell but have the full support and encouragement from the team of staff around them to take part.
“A staff member was interested in cycles as he is a qualified Velotech instructor, others will be visiting local prisons for training and we hope to encourage patients to become instructors to their peers.”
“We hope this is a chance to give something back, develop a skill that matters, that can be used outside the hospital, there is definitely a feel good factor about this”.
MCF Refurbished bikes in Sierra Leone
Refurbished bikes are distributed all over the world via the partner charities we work with. We always feedback to trainees in the prison workshops to reinforce the value of the work they are doing and highlighting what a difference a bike can make to someone’s life.
We were delighted to hear two stories from people in Sierra Leone who have received bikes via the Village Bike Project. Bikes are refurbished in our workshops at HMP Humber and HMP Lindholme which are collected and distributed by the Avenues Bicycle Project who send them on to the Village Bike Project in Sierra Leone. The village bike project distribute the bikes to individuals in Sierra Leone and also run bike workshops so that beneficiaries are able to maintain their own bikes once they receive them. Karim Kamara from the Village Bike Project visited two of the beneficiaries to find out if the bikes had made a difference to their lives.
Mafereh Kanu is a student of the saint Augustine agricultural institute lungai. She is 23 years old,She received her bicycle three months ago, from the village bicycle project in Sierra Leone. Yesterday the team visited Mafereh at lungi to get some small interview from her to know how she is using here bicycles.
What is the bast part about having a bike? ” The best part is that,I am now more mobile and frequent in school. I get to my school faster, before I use to walk 6 miles everyday or some times I pay Le 10 for a motorbike ride which equivalent to $1.50. But since I have this bike, it helps me save time and money” Here bicycle is still in good working conditions, bearing breaks gears are still in good shape. She is really taking good care of her bike because it save her time and money.
Mr peter is a Teacher of the saint Augustine school, he is 40 years of age. He received his bicycle three months ago from the village bicycle project in Sierra Leone. Mr peter is an agricultu teacher and also he is an agriculturist, he use to plant rice and crops. The village bicycle project team visited him yesterday to get a small interview with him.
My first question is to ask him what is the important of having a bike. ” The best part is that, I am saving time and money and it brings sustainability in my family. Before is used to wake up 5am in the morning before going to school to visit my farm before going to school. But since I have this bike, now I wake up 7am in the morning to visit my Farm after that I go to school. My bike has been most useful in the sense that I use it more than 10 miles everyday, if I compare my expenses before when I don’t have a bike. Befor 60% of my salary is going in transportation, but now I don’t even spend even 1% of my salary in transportation” Big thanks to Village Bike Project and their partners for making this happen, I hope they send more bicycles so that other people can also save time and money like me.
Musical Extravaganza to raise funds for MCF
On Saturday 8 July Chordiality are putting on a choir concert to raise funds for the Margaret Carey Foundation.
The evening also includes a performance by special guests , Steeton Male Voice Choir.
Tickets cost £15 each which includes refreshments.
The concert starts at 7.30pm and is being held at
Bradford Grammar School
Tickets are available directly from Chordiality members, call: 07949 696064
Tour De Yorkshire 2017
The Tour De Yorkshire will be speeding through Yorkshire from 28-30 April and MCF is all geared up to celebrate the occasion.
We are delighted to have a team of 15 cyclists taking part in the official Maserati Yorkshire Sportive on Sunday 30 April, starting and finishing at Fox Valley, Sheffield.
Our Team MCF cyclists will be completing challenging, hilly routes of either 50, 75 or 100km to raise funds for the Margaret Carey Foundation. If you would like to support any of them, here are a few of the cyclists with links to their sponsorship pages
They have all trained hard for the event and any additional sponsorship raised will give them the boost they need to get them over the finish line.
5 cyclists from HMP Lindholme led by workshop instructor Dave Clarke, completing the 100km route
Sponsor MCF Bikery Mechanic John Hyde completing the 100km route
Sponsor MCF Trustee, Meic Bruton, completing the 100km route
Sponsor MCF Bikery, Volunteer Mechanic Elliot Jay, completing the 50km route.
We wish all our cyclists the best of luck in the sportive (including the ones not mentioned above who don’t have online sponsorship pages) and hope it is an exhilerating and rewarding experience for you all.
Tour De Yorkshire Vintage Bike Display
Day 3 of the Tour De Yorkshire sets of from the centre of Bradford in City Park. MCF have provided refurbished bikes for a vintage display in the former Forsters Bistro, a fantastic venue within City Park. This display will form part of an exhibition celebrating the history of cycling which takes place during the Tour De Yorkshire. MCF bikes will also be on display in the Bradford Capital of Cycling hub in Hall Ings, Bradford. Students from the nearby Forsters college will be researching the history of the vintage bikes and making a display with help from local artist Tim Curtis.
School organises successful bike collection
Many thanks to the Year 9 students at Titus Salt School, Higher Coach Road, Baildon for organising a fantastic bike collection for the Margaret Carey Foundation.
The group of year 9 students organised the collection of unwanted bikes on behalf of MCF as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award. The collection was held at school on Saturday 1 April and was a huge succes – in total they received donations of 60 bikes, various bits of bikes and a wheelchair. All of thebikes and wheelchairs have already been sent on to one of our workshops to be refurbished.
There was also a fantastic write up in the local paper, The telegraph and Argus.
Thanks to the group of students, the supervising teacher, Mr Trusselle and everyone that supported the collection.
If you would be interested in organising a bike collection on behalf of MCF then why not get in touch to find out how we can support you. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Yorkshire Bank Bike Library Launches in Shipley
Children living in Shipley and the surrounding area will be able to ride a bike for free following the launch of a new Yorkshire Bank Bike Library at the MCF Bikery in Shipley at 4.00pm on Thursday 23 March 2017.
The bike library will offer free bike loans for children and families, as well as bike safety advice, and affordable bike repairs and servicing, and led rides.
Old and unwanted bikes can be also donated at the library where prisoners will clean and repair them to a high standard before they are loaned out to children and families who don’t have bikes of their own.
Helen Rowlands, MCF Development Manager, said: “We’re really excited about opening a Yorkshire Bank Bike Library here in Shipley. It’s a fantastic way for people who don’t have a bike to try one out and see if they like it without spending any money.”
The scheme is sponsored by Yorkshire Bank and run in collaboration with Welcome to Yorkshire’s cycling initiative, Cycle Yorkshire.
It aims to give every child in Yorkshire access to a bike and sees unwanted bikes donated at one of the county’s 51 donation stations, where they are then repaired and available to hire free of charge.
Since the first Yorkshire Bank Bike Library opened last year, 36 have launched across the county, while more than 36,000 chances to ride a bike have been offered to children and nearly 5,000 bikes have been donated.
Sir Gary Verity, Chief Executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, said: “The Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries is a truly unique scheme launched as a legacy of the Tour de France and Tour de Yorkshire, designed to give every child in Yorkshire access to a bike, regardless of their circumstances.
“I am delighted to see a new bike library launching in Shipley. We’re really excited to bring stage three of this year’s Tour de Yorkshire through the area on Sunday, April 30 and hope it will inspire the next generation of cyclists to discover the joy of riding a bike for themselves.”
Helen Page, Propositions and Marketing Director at Yorkshire Bank, said: “We are delighted to support the set-up of additional Yorkshire Bank Bike Libraries across the county. Giving more children an opportunity to have access to a bike is something we feel passionately about.”
For more information, visit bikelibraries.yorkshire.com
Bikes will be available to loan from the Shipley Bikery at the following times:
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays: 3.00 – 5.00pm
Thursdays: 11.00am – 7.00pm
Saturdays: 10.00am – 12.00pm
Details of further Bike Library activities will be announced in due course.
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.”