Hartlepool youngsters appeal for more bikes for children in Africa

Tommy Halse repairing one of the bikes for Africa.
Tommy Halse repairing one of the bikes for Africa.

Young people in Hartlepool who are using pedal power to change the lives of those in need are appealing for more bikes.

Earlier this year the group of teenagers, who are taking part in the bike project to enrich the lives of people in Africa, urged Hartlepool residents to donate their unused or broken bikes.

We are appealing for more bikes

Joanne Blackwood

The youths got a good response, but have worked so hard on stripping, mending and painting the old bikes, they have already ran out.

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

She said: “We are appealing for more bikes because the young people have fixed all the ones we had.

“It is such a good project and the young people love working on the bikes.”

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

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.

Over the years the charity has repaired more than 300 bikes to send to Africa.

Joanne 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.

Anyone who would like to donate an unwanted or broken bike can take it along to The Cracket on weekdays between 9am and 3pm or contact them on 01429 598824.