Hartlepool bike project celebrates its best-ever year

Joanne Blackwood and  Mally Close are celebrating a great year.
Joanne Blackwood and Mally Close are celebrating a great year.

A project has given one of its biggest-ever donations of bikes to Africa.

A dozen rejuvenated cycles have been sent from the Hartlepool-based Southbrooke Community Project to children overseas.

And although the Southbrooke project has now closed for this year, it will be back to continue its good work in January.

The Southbrooke Community Project, off Catcote Road, runs a bike renovation scheme.

It works with up to 20 young people at a time, including some not in education.

It has facilities including a farm, workshop, education room, chicken pen and a garden in which flowers and vegetables are grown.

The public can get involved in its bike renovation scheme by donating bicycles and parts for children to work on.

Once the bikes are renovated, they are either offered to families in Hartlepool unable to afford a new bike or sent to Africa.

Project spokeswoman Joanne Blackwood said: “We must have renovated between 50 and 70 bikes during 2015, and things have gone really well.

“They have all gone to Africa, to families who have got no money and to lone parents.”

Joanne described 2015 as “a really successful year”.

She added: “We will be back on January 4, and we shall be starting from fresh by wanting people to donate more bikes.”

Once it reopens, the scheme will accept donations of bicycles between 9am and 2.30pm on weekdays.

Anyone who wants to back the bike project, or anyone wishing to request one of the scheme’s bicycles, can contact Joanne on 07572 880338.

It was only in the spring of last year that the bike renovation scheme started.

At the time, Joanne said: “I love the outdoors, I love working with the children, and I love putting a smile on their faces.

“I went as a volunteer, and I got the job as the youth worker.”

Part of the project’s role is to provide alternative education provision for some children.

Joanne said the bike scheme should be a great attraction.