People experiencing homelessness to provide affordable bikes to Swindon schoolchildren in time for Christmas

published on 29 Nov 2016

Service users at Booth House Lifehouse, a residential centre run by the Salvation Army that supports local people experiencing homelessness, will team up with local school Swindon Academy on Saturday 3rd December to provide high quality refurbished bicycles at affordable prices to families at the school.  

From Booth House, the Salvation Army runs Recycles, a social enterprise which sells refurbished bikes, offers cycle repair and servicing, a cycle hire scheme and cycle maintenance courses for local people. Recycles offers training, skills and work experience to service users of Booth House, who are involved in all aspects of running the enterprise.  

The partnership with Swindon Academy will enable the Recycles team to sell bicycles for children aged between 2 to 19 years of age at a greatly reduced price. Each bike will cost no more than £30 to purchase, making them available to families who might not otherwise be able to afford a bike for their child this Christmas.  

Through involvement in this partnership, service users at Booth House who volunteer with Recycles will develop and apply their skills of cycle refurbishment and repair. This opportunity will provide them with valuable life and employability skills, equipping themselves with the tools to transform their own lives, achieve sustainable change and secure independence.  

Emma Hambidge, Social Enterprise Programme Co-ordinator said: “'Recycles are pleased to be able to provide the opportunity for Swindon Academy students and their families to purchase quality bikes at an affordable price. This partnership also has a wider impact as it enables our Recycles volunteers, service users at Booth House who have experienced homelessness, to not only develop skills and experience in the bike trade but also make a positive contribution to the local community”.  

Helen Beardall, Community Education Officer at Swindon Academy said: “Our school serves a large area of high deprivation and social exclusion in Swindon. Families struggle to make ends meet and affording a bike for your child can be an expense that families cannot accommodate. We are therefore delighted to be working with Recycles to put on this event. The offer of safe and affordable bikes to our students will help many of our young people to get to school and keep fit and healthy through cycling in their spare time”.   “Recycles is a fabulous social enterprise and this event is a real example of how Recycles invests in the wider community. We are very grateful to Emma Hambidge and her team at the Swindon branch for their help to invest in cycling in our community”.   

“We have also worked with the transport department at Swindon Borough Council who will be providing information on Safe Routes for cycling and with Cycle SOS who have kindly sent us a stock of free reflective bands to help us to promote safe cycling”.  

For more than 150 years, The Salvation Army has been transforming lives and continues to do so today in communities across the UK and throughout the world.