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Last modified: 29 Jul 2020 10:40am

A group of 30 bikes standing on grass and lent against a low breeze block wall

A new lease of life for old bikes is helping Selwyn school students, prisoners and people reintegrating on release from prison.

The Council has been working with Pathway—a Canterbury charity that works with people in prison and helps them reintegrate on release— and with Selwyn high schools to give old bikes a new life.

The Council’s solid waste team provides bicycles that have been taken to the Pines Resource Recovery Park to Pathway, which teaches people in the youth unit at Christchurch Men’s Prison to refurbish them. The bikes are then gifted to people Pathways Trust works with after their release.

The Council has given around 60 bikes to Pathways. A further 14 bikes have also been given to Ellesmere College and Lincoln High School for students to work on.

“Being able to have the bikes repaired and reused, instead of being shredded for scrap metal recycling was a preferred outcome in line with Council’s aims in our Waste Minimisation Plan to reduce waste and reuse items,” Council Solid Waste Manager Andrew Boyd says. “And the positive social outcome with prisoners was the icing on the cake.”

The bicycle project is a great way to help people in prison learn transferable work skills, purpose and self-esteem, Pathway employer and volunteer coordinator Renee Jones says. “The guys love taking something which could’ve been thrown away and bringing it back to life and giving it a second chance.”

The bikes help people on release to get to medical appointments, job interviews and work placements, reconnect with family and friends or just get to the supermarket, Ms Jones says.

The Council has also worked with container company and Council supplier Royal Wolf, which has given Pathway a special Wolf Lock security container to store the bikes and parts. “It was our way of giving back. What Pathway does helping rehabilitate prisoners coming out of prison, it’s such a worthy cause. They were in need of a container and that was something we could do to help out.”