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.
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!
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.’
Call for NHS to donate wheelchairs for overseas aid
Steven Chandler, Acting British High Commissioner in Fiji, called on the international aid community to remember disabled people in developing countries as he presided over the delivery of a container load of children’s physiotherapy equipment donated by PhysioNet and including dozens of wheelchairs refurbished by offenders at HMP Garth.
Speaking to the Spinal Injuries Association of Fiji, the Commissioner supported PhysioNet’s work to encourage the NHS to pass on more of their redundant wheelchairs. He recalled the triumph of Fiji bringing home the Pacific’s first ever Olympic medal at the 2012 London games. He said “Iliesa Delana’s triumph in the Paralympics men’s high jump is an inspiration to us all.
“But for every medal-winning para athlete, there are millions more in the world who are often hidden from view and forgotten. The British Minister for International Development Lynn Featherstone wrote recently that: “the awful truth is the aid community has also in large part forgotten disabled people. I do not know whether it is because it is too hard or other priorities win the day. But we all must do as we would be done by. Over one billion people
– 15% of the global population – have a disability and there is a direct link between disability and poverty. Indeed, disability has a greater impact on access to education than gender or household economic status”.
PhysioNet is one of Margaret Carey Foundation’s charity partners. It was set up in 2005 after Peter Thompson’s visit to a children’s home in Sarajevo, in Bosnia Herzegovina in 2004 where he was asked if he could help find special needs equipment for the children there. Since then, the PhysioNet team of volunteers have helped provide physiotherapy equipment to disabled children in Eastern & Central Europe and in developing countries round the world.
PhysioNet has a close working relationship with Margaret Carey Foundation, taking almost all the 296 wheelchairs refurbished by prisoners at HMP Garth over the past three years and delivering them to people in need in Fiji, Democratic Republic of Congo, Samoa, India and South Africa.
Helping offenders work to help others
Thanks to funding from Northern Rock Foundation and the Monument Trust, Margaret Carey Foundation is now helping more prisoners than ever before, getting them to work to help people in need all over the world. More than 70 prisoners a week are working on our projects, learning good work habits and skills.
Prisoners are recycling and restoring discarded bikes in five prisons:
- Everthorpe, near Hull in East Yorkshire
- Haverigg, in Millom, Cumbria
- Northumberland, in Morpeth
- Garth, in Leyland, Lancashire
Prisoners are repairing electric mobility aids and gaining certificates in Portable Appliance Testing in one prison:
- Kirklevington, near Cleveland in North Yorkshire
Prisoners repair wheelchairs in one prison
- Garth, in Leyland, Lancashire
Every project is a partnership between the prison and our charity. The prison provides the workshop space, workbenches, any available tools, and an instructor. Margaret Carey Foundation encourages all prisons deliver vocational qualifications associated with mechanical skills. Some institutions deliver literacy and numeracy learning pods in conjunction with the workshop to reach offenders who otherwise will not attend a classroom and we have found this to be very effective.
Garth Prison Inmates and MCF Help Get Tonynanook Mobile Again
Disabled Lancashire pensioner Tonynanook Kulurachi has had her life transformed after we were able to present her with a wheelchair handbike to replace her old mobility scooter. Tonynanook contacted us when her scooter broke down, leaving her house-bound at her home in Warrington.
Fortunately we had just the thing she needed, thanks to our Garth Prison workshop in Leyland. The handbike was just one of a number of cycles and wheel chairs donated to us each year that are refurbished through our prison engineering workshops schemes.
While a lot of the cycles and wheel chairs we refurbish are sent around the world it was great on this occasion to be able to help someone in the local community.
HMP Liverpool workers speak out
Our project officer, Katy McCormick, visited our bike project in Workshop 6 at HMP Liverpool (Walton) to award Bronze, Silver and Gold Certificates of Achievement to some of the trainees. These certificates are given when the men reach a certain level of skill, and are also our way of saying thank you for their work. Many of these men have never received a certificate or any kind of acknowledgement before, and it can mean a lot to their self-esteem. She gave a short presentation about the bikes we had recently sent to Bulgaria and listened to some of them men talk about their experience of the workshop. Here is her report:”A really important part of the project is that the men understand what happens to the bikes they repair. I showed them pictures and talked to them about the bikes we sent to Baba Tonka House in Bulgaria. Bulgaria has the highest number of abandoned children of any country in the EU and these children are kept in huge, state-run institutions with little personal attention or care. Baba Tonka House offers an alternative, supporting disabled children and their families to reduce abandonment. The bikes were an unheard-of treat for the children, and a really useful means of transport for the staff.
I then had a chance to talk to some of the men, asking them about what they liked about the workshop and if they thought they were learning anything that would be useful when they were released.
The feedback about the bikes to Bulgaria made a big impact. “Not being funny but some of the lads had a tear in their eye.” “Makes you think that does. Those kids over there.” “It’s good that you came to talk to us.”
They all agreed they had improved their mechanical skills and some thought it might be useful in the future. “I’ll be able to fix the kiddies’ bikes.” “I wonder how I could set up a project like this when I get out.”
The calm atmosphere in the workshop was a plus. “Every other place I’ve been here I’ve been thrown out. Just my temper. Can’t help it really. But I don’t get stressed here.” “It’s just a good mood in here. Calm.”
The men said that in other workshops each man tends to his own work. Here, they are more likely to work together or help one another out. “Sure, I’ll show him [if he needs help].”
As I left, it seemed to me that the bicycles were almost a by-product. What they are really making in Workshop 6 is self-esteem.
Meet the Partners
MCF is a small charity of six, part-time staff. Yet we have more than a dozen projects covering a large area of northern England and the Midlands. How do we do it? With a network of strong partnerships supporting everything we do. We’d like to introduce you to just a few of the organisations which support us with collecting recycled bikes or donating refurbished ones, and explain how we’re maximising our impact by working together.
PhysioNet is a charity based in Yorkshire, set up in 2005 to provide physiotherapy equipment to disabled children and adults in Eastern & Central Europe and in developing countries around the world. They are completely volunteer-run, with no paid staff. They send four to six containers overseas each year, funded by individual donations and small grants. Physionet also organise responsive donations, such as to the Spinal Injuries Assocation for delivery to Fiji in the aftermath of the 2016 cyclone.
PhysioNet collect donated physio equipment, including wheelchairs, from all over the country, but some of them need repairs before they can safely be reused by people in need. That’s where MCF comes in: any wheelchairs that need refurbishing or repair go to our expert workshop at HMP Garth before going back to PhysioNet and being loaded onto the containers.
The equipment helps children and adults far and wide achieve a quality of life not previously accessible to them, with equipment which would otherwise have ended up in the UK waste system. This year, PhysioNet sent containers to Ukraine, Fiji, Sri Lanka, Ghana, Romania and Bulgaria . Physionet is run by volunteers who have relevant expert knowledge, and partnes with charities in the host country, to ensure the right equipment goes to those most in need. One such example is Malamulele, a charity working with children with Cerebral Palsy in disadvantaged areas of Southern Africa which regularly receives items of physiotherapy equipment and wheelchairs in Saxonwold, Johannesburg, South Africa.
The chief executive of PhysioNet is David Kaye. For more information about Physionet, visit their website www.physionet.org.uk
Any old iron?
Bicycles – Wheelchairs – Petrol lawnmower – Sewing machines – Garden tools – Scrap timber
Do you have any of the above that you no longer use? Let us take your unwanted items. Provided it is still in reasonable condition and that, with some TLC at one our offender refurbishment projects, it can be put back into full working order, we would like to hear from you.
Call David on 01535 275530 to arrange a collection
The True Story of a Troublesome Prisoner
The workshop at HMP Garth had refurbished more than 100 wheelchairs, which were being sent to Chennai, India. The shipment included a specially made chair that had been built by one of the prisoners for a young orphan named Manikandam. The workshop manager, Dave Kellett, went with the shipment to Chennai and took videos and still photographs whilst he was there.
In the meantime, a prisoner in Garth was given instructions to report to DK’s workshop on the Monday DK returned to work from his trip to Chennai. I will call this prisoner, RTP (You will understand why very shortly!). Apparently RTP had asked around on the landing as to the nature of the workshop he was instructed to attend and what the instructor was like. In the many years RTP had served in prison he had been troublesome and had never worked for any length of time and certainly with no enthusiasm in other workshops where he had been placed. In fact he had been disruptive on many occasions.
He found out that the work was fixing wheelchairs, and was told that DK was “a good bloke” so he RTP arrived in the workshop. DK had promised the men that on his return from India he would show them video footage and photographs. This he did on that first Monday morning, and of course this was RTP’s introduction to the workshop. The video featured the orphan, Manikandam, and his specialised wheelchair, along with other distributions.
RTP stayed in the workshop and began to be taught, mostly by the other men, as to what was involved in restoring wheelchairs. About two weeks later RTP gave DK a letter and after DK read it, he gained RTP’s permission to share the contents with me. It contained a testimony as to the life changing effect the video, photographs, and DK’s account had had on RTP.
The prisoner wrote, “the experience that Monday morning made me realise I could be different, I could help others less fortunate than myself even though I was serving a long prison sentence, that I had something to offer and that being troublesome was negative and unproductive in all sorts of ways.” He wrote “watching that video changed something in my head” and TP – troublesome prisoner – became RTP – reformed troublesome prisoner. RTP settled into the workshop and helped restore wheelchairs, which the following year went to Chennai via the same arrangements.