Around 15 bikes fished out of the Broads by the Broads Authority have been donated to Bicycle Links CIC, where they will be refurbished for people in Norwich who need transport.
Each year, unwanted and stolen bicycles are dumped in the rivers and Broads of the National Park. Of these bicycles, any that were unclaimed have been donated by the Broads Authority to two community cycling initiatives run by Bicycle Links and partners. Volunteers and mechanics at Bicycle Links will refurbish them for refugees, asylum seekers, and those seeking work and in need of transport in Norwich.
The Welcome Wheels project provides refurbished second-hand bicycles, helmets, locks, lights and cycle training, to newly resettled refugees and asylum seekers in Norwich.
The second project (sponsored by Greater Anglia) provides a £95 voucher towards a discounted second-hand bicycle and free accessories for adults who are identified as disadvantaged, to help them secure or move towards employment. Having a bicycle helps with transport to interviews, jobs and training.
Since 2018, Welcome Wheels has provided over 300 bikes to asylum seekers and refugees of all ages but the project is now very low on funds, bicycles and biking accessories. The project team is asking members of the public for support via a crowdfunding appeal (https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/welcome-wheels)
and to donate old bikes and accessories such as locks, helmets and lights.
Lucy Hall, Project Manager at Bicycle Links, said,
“We are really pleased to see these bikes recycled and put to good use. Our volunteers enjoy working on them, gaining new skills and a sense of purpose.
“The Welcome Wheels project really needs funds and donations of bicycles to help it to continue. We are asking people to dig around in their garden or shed for that old bike they or their children no longer use, or to give a small donation to help keep the project going.”
Tim Guy, mechanic at Bicycle Links, said,
“Bicycle Links has helped 100s of individuals gain cost-free access to bicycles and equipment. We rely heavily on bicycle donations to help more people feel independent and increase their social mobility.
“From rusted old heaps, to bikes that just need dusting down and a safety check, we can make use of anything.”
Broads Authority, Communications Officer, Laura Middleton, said,
“It’s great to see that these old bikes can be skilfully refurbished, given a new lease of life and donated to people who really need them.”
Donated bikes are assessed by trained mechanics for their viability and then refurbished by Bicycle Links’ volunteer team, then checked by mechanics again before they are given away.
Daily tasks that we might take for granted, such as nipping to the shops or meeting up with friends, can be almost impossible for someone who has arrived in a new country, with such limited resources they may not even be able to pay for a bus fare. A bike can transform someone’s life and unlock their new city.
A bike can be an essential piece of equipment for people who are, for example, taking up a job after a long period of unemployment, or going into training, work experience or a first job after leaving school, or looking for work after homelessness. In these situations, people may not have the funds to buy a good second-hand bike.
Please donate your old bicycles and cycling accessories to:
Bicycle Links, Anglia Square, NR3 1DY (next door to Saver’s). Phone before you visit to check opening times on 01603 764343.
Or to: Bicycle Links, 135 /137 King St, Norwich NR1 1QH.