Rutland residents benefit from My Bike scheme
More than 120 people in Rutland have benefited from a county-wide scheme that sees old and damaged bicycles restored to full working order and given free of charge to those who need them.
Rutland County Council has been working with HMP Stocken on the ‘My Bike’ project for just under a year. In this time, 122 bicycles disposed of at recycling centres across the county have been reconditioned by prisoners, before being offered to individuals and families who don’t have a bike of their own.
The aim of the project is to help children, young people, adults and families into education, training, employment and recreation by giving them access to free sustainable transport, which they might not otherwise be able to afford.
My Bike is coordinated by Rutland County Council’s sustainable transport officer and involves adult and children’s social services, as well as the council’s community safety team, local schools and colleges.
The emphasis is on supporting people who may have a low income, learning difficulties or poor mental health, as well as those undergoing recovery programmes or living in sheltered accommodation.
Nick Begy, portfolio holder for Highways and Transport at Rutland County Council, said: “This is an inspiring project, with a fantastic partnership between the council, HMP Stocken and the business community. I’m now looking to find ways to provide more funding, either through grants or the private sector, to help supply helmets and other equipment to the recipients so they can become totally independent.
“Thanks to the prisoners and workshop staff at HMP Stocken we have a well-established process where old and unwanted bikes of all sizes can be reconditioned and given to individuals and families who might otherwise find it difficult to get one.”
He added the project also helps prisoners at HMP Stocken learn new skills that could lead to employment.”
Everyone who benefits from My Bike receives a reconditioned bike, adjusted for their age and height. Each participant also attends a bike handling assessment to get them ready to ride.
If you have a bike you wish to donate, take it to one of Rutland’s recycling centres.
Details of the recycling centres can be found online on the www.rutland.gov.uk/my-services/waste-and-recycling/ website.