Cycling chain stores donates old bikes to Salvation Army’s Recycles project

published on 1 Feb 2017

A chain of cycling shops is set to give the Recycles social enterprise for people who have experienced homelessness a huge boost by delivering used bikes directly to its store.   From March, Hargroves Cycles—which has branches in Swindon, Southampton, Chichester, Fareham and Winchester—is introducing a part-exchange system, allowing customers to trade-in their old bikes for brand new ones.

Those part-exchanged bikes that customers leave behind will then be collected by the Swindon branch of Hargroves and dropped off at Recycles; where they will either be serviced and sold for an affordable price or dismantled for parts.   

Recycles is part of The Salvation Army Booth Lifehouse, a residential centre for people who have experienced homelessness.  It offers training, skills and work experience to Booth House service users, who are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of running the enterprise.  

Trading from its shop and workshop on the ground floor of Booth Lifehouse, Spring Close Swindon, Recycles sells high quality used bikes and offers cycle repair and servicing, a bike hire scheme and cycle maintenance courses.   Emma Hambidge, Salvation Army Social Enterprise Programme Co-ordinator said: “We’re delighted that Hargroves has chosen to donate their customers’ unwanted bikes to Recycles. And the fact that they’re delivering them to the shop too is just great.   

“We have a really fast turnover of bikes, because our trainees repair and service them to such a high standard.  It’s brilliant to think Recycles will have a steady stream of used bikes for our team to work on.  Most of the people at Recycles are service users at Booth Lifehouse who have experienced homelessness.  

The skills they develop in bike repair, customer service and running a business are invaluable for working in the bike trade and beyond. It gives them so much self-confidence, which sets them up to make a positive contribution to the local community when they leave Booth House.”  

Mark Sealey, Branch Manager at Hargroves Cycles, Swindon said: “For us it’s all about getting people out on their bikes and Recycles is helping to do that by selling quality, second hand bikes to people who may not be able to afford a new one. Without them, lots of unwanted bikes would probably just be scrapped, which would be a terrible waste.     

“Being involved with Recycles is really valuable to us. There’s a massive shortage of qualified staff in the bike industry and Recycles trains its volunteers to industry standard which is fantastic. We’ve employed an ex-Recycles trainee here in our store and we’d definitely be looking to do the same in the future.”  

The Salvation Army is a Christian Church and charity which believes in empowering people experiencing difficulties to transform their lives through a range of practical support; including projects such as Recycles, which provide valuable life and employability skills to help people who have experienced homelessness achieve sustainable change and secure independence.