Young people in Hartlepool appealing for unwanted bikes

Tommy Halse (14) repairing a bike. Picture by FRANK REID

Tommy Halse (14) repairing a bike. Picture by FRANK REID

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Young people in Hartlepool are using pedal power to change the lives of those in need.

A group of teenagers is taking part in a bike project to enrich the lives of people in Africa.

But the young people need the help of town residents to take on the challenge.

Householders are being urged to donate their old and broken bikes to the project, so the young people can strip, mend and repaint them.

Joanne Blackwood, from the town’s Cornerstone project, who is organising the scheme, said she would love as many people are possible to donate their unwanted cycles for such a worthy cause.

Once in usable condition again, the bikes are shipped out to Africa, to give the children there the opportunity to go to school.

We rebuild the bikes and send them to Africa so that young people can get to school

Joanne Blackwood

Joanne said: “We rebuild the bikes and send them to Africa so that the young people there can get to school, otherwise they have to walk an hour or more to get there. Having a bike makes it much easier for them.”

She said the young Hartlepool people involved in the project are at risk of being excluded from secondary school or just don’t cope well in a mainstream school environment.

Joanne said they enjoy working on the bikes and over the years the charity has repaired more than 300 to send to Africa.

She said: “The young people think it is really, really good what they are doing and they love the fact they are helping other young people in Africa to be able to have an education.

“Children are so privileged here to be able to easily go to school, they have mum or dad to take them, or can go on the bus, but the children in Africa don’t have that.”

The bike recycling scheme is just one of many projects run by Cornerstone, which is based at The Cracket, in the town’s Wynyard Road.

The scheme is run in conjunction with the national Re-Cycle charity, which co-ordinates the bikes being sent to Africa.

They believe having simple, affordable transport generates income opportunities in developing countries, as well as saving lots of time and back-breaking work.

In Britain, millions of bikes are thrown away or lie unused in sheds, while many people in Africa have no access to transport of any kind.

Anyone who would like to donate an unwanted or broken bike can take it along to The Cracket in weekdays between 9am and 3pm.