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!
Award Winning Workshop
Congratulations to our award winning instructor, Dave Clarke.
Dave is the instructor in the MCF Bike Workshop at HMP Lindholme and has recently been successful at the Yorkshire Prisons Staff Awards 2018. Dave won the award in the category ‘Changing Lives’ and also won the overall award on the night.
“Dave works closely with the offenders persuading them of the benefits of engaging with work. He persuades others of the benefits of working in the area. Dave spends time explaining that a positive working ethos will improve employability chances upon release. The work they undertake results in bikes being sent to third world countries. This means that the work is an opportunity to help others in less fortunate conditions.”
Dave was presented with his award by Director of Custody for Yorkshire, Paul Foweather.
MCF are incredibly proud of all the hard work and dedication our instructors put in, often in challenging circumstances. It is fantastic that Dave has received this recognition for his immense contribution for MCF at HMP Lindholme. A thoroughly well deserved award!
Achievement Awards at HMP Risley
In March MCF Director, David Brown, made his quarterly visit to HMP Risley to meet some of the trainees in the workshop.
During his visit David was able to present 5 Bronze level Achievement awards and 1 Silver level Achievement in recognition of the progress the trainees have made in the workshop.
To achieve a bronze level award trainees must demonstrate the following skills
- Bicycle restoration and recycling
- Completed induction programme
- Basic tools are identified and used safely
- Maintained a good standard of workmanship
To achieve a silver level award trainees must demonstrate the following:
- Bicycle restoration and recycling
- Able to identify faults and repair them
- Complete all safety checks
- Maintained a high level of workmanship
Whilst visiting David was also presented with a cheque for the Margaret Carey Foundation for £260, raised through the sale of bikes refurbished in the workshop.
Credit to the efforts of HMP Risley Bike workshop instructor, Andy Tawn, who has worked tirelessly since the workshop first opened in July 2017 to build the thriving environment for trainees to learn new skills.
HMP Risley donates refurbished bikes to local youth club
At the end of 2017 HMP Risley “Chains” bicycle repair workshop presented 10 BMX bikes to Warrington Youth Club for underprivileged children.
The BMX bikes were donated to the workshop from a variety of sources and refurbished by trainee mechanics in the Margaret Carey Foundation bike workshop.
Andrew Tawn Workshop Instructor says “Im really proud to be part of a workshop that is paying back to the community and helping deprived children. I’m very grateful to all the staff at HMP Risley who have donated bikes along with the Margaret Carey Foundation and Cheshire police who have donated bikes, without these people the workshop simply wouldn’t function”.
All trainees in the workshop will undertake a Margaret Carey Foundation award for bicycle maintenance and tool use, starting off at Bronze and working up to gold level.
One of the workshop trainees that helped refurbish the BMXs said: “I really enjoy building the bikes as it helps keep me busy but most of all I am learning new skills which I never had”.
Warrington youth club will be donating the bikes to children in the coming months.
Award Winning Bike Project in Greater Manchester
Dave Meadows, Bike Project Co-ordinator at St Joseph’s Approved premises has followed up the recent success of the MCF Bradford Bikery by also winning an award. Dave has won the HMPPS Choice Award at the 2017 ESF Award Ceremony.
Dave was nominated for the award after a visit from Andy Cole, the Operational Performance Manager for HMPPS. Both Andy and his colleagues were very impressed with the work Dave has been doing at St Josephs, and in particular they commended Dave’s patience and understanding when working with individuals with mental health issues. Andy felt that this, and the semi-outdoor conditions of the workshop at St Josephs were particularly deserving of recognition and therefore nominated Dave for the award.
Pictured: Dave Meadows with the HMPPS Choice Award in the bike workshop at St Joseph’s
“It was quite an honour to win the HMPPS Choice award at the 2017 ESF Award Ceremony in recognition of my work for the Margaret Carey Foundation at St Josephs Approved Premesis. I enjoy the work I do and it’s always good to receive some positive recognition.”
Manjit Maude, Senior Probation Officer at St Joseph’s says: “Dave is very much part of team at St Joseph’s and his knowledge, skills and experience are valued by the team and residents alike. He brings a professional approach to his work and engages our residents to ensure good outcomes. He always communicates in a timely manner with staff and ensures relevant information is passed on.”
Pictured above: The Bike project team
Award Winning MCF Bradford Bikery
We are delighted to announce that the MCF Bradford Bikery has won a Cycling UK award. The MCF Bradford Bikery was awarded National winner best group achievement.
MCF Bradford Bikery joining forces with Capital of Cycling provided practical help and support to asylum seekers and refugees in Bradford through their “Cycling to Sanctuary” initiative. During the Big Bike Revival the MCF Bradford Bikery gave away over 100 bikes that had been refurbished in MCF prison workshops. Some of the recipients are in absolute transport poverty so a bike can be a crucial tool. They also provide group activities, bike repair and organised rides, giving people positive experience and helping them integrate into the local community
The awards were presented at the Cycling UK Conference in Birmingham on Saturday 7 October. Pictured is MCF Bradford Bikery volunteer Rebecca Wedderburn with Chris Boardman.
Ilkley Wharfedale Rotary Club Collection Day Success
On Saturday 30 September the Rotary Club of Ilkley Wharfedale organised a recycling day in Ilkley town centre. They collected a variety of items to be refurbished including bikes for Margaret Carey Foundation workshops.
The day was a terrific success with 102 bikes collected for MCF as well as sewing machines, spectacles, workshop equipment, tools and wheelchairs to be refurbished by other organisanisations.
Margaret Carey Foundation would like to thank the Rotarians for all their hard work in again organising a fantastic collection day and all the members of the public who donated items.
The fantastic amount of bikes collected by the rotarians means our workshops will be supplied for a while but we are always happy to take donations of unwanted bikes as we have plenty of storage space. If you would like to donate a bike please call 07874627801 or email Helen
Read the full article on the Ilkley Gazette website
MCF Director David Brown with the collection of donated bikes in Ilkley.
Wheelchair recycling makes NHS case study
Since the start of 2017 old wheelchairs from Airedale Hospital in Steeton, West Yorkshire have been donated to the Margaret Carey Foundation.
The wheelchairs, were refurbished several times before being replaced by Airedale NHS Foundation Trust when they were then taken to HMP Garth Prison in Chorley where they are stripped down, rebuilt and repaired in the MCF prison workshop.
Once refurbished the wheelchairs were distributed by our partner charity PhysioNet transports 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.
A steady supply of wheelchairs to refurbish and donate benefited both charities and helped reduce the cost to the NHS of scrapping the equipment and it was always hoped that other health services in the region would get involved in the initiative.
The successful recycling partnership between the Margaret Carey Foundation, PhysioNet and Airedale NHS Foundation Trust Mobility Services has been submitted as case study to the NHS Sustainable Devlopment Unit. The SDU is a national resource for NHS (and public) and they are very keen to hear from any organisations promoting re-use and recycling. The SDU is also the body regulating NHS bodies towards the carbon emissions and sustainability targets and hopefully this could be the next step to more health services setting up a similar scheme.
The link to the full case study is here
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.