Posted: 23rd October 2009
We take a look at Re-Cycle, the Colchester based charity which collects second hand bikes, parts and tools in the UK and sends them to Africa where people desperately need them to improve their mobility in a sustainable way.
Millions of unwanted bicycles are rusting in garages or being thrown away in the UK while in Africa, a four-hour daily walk is common - mothers collecting clean water, parents trekking to the farm, factory or market, or children facing a 20 mile walk to school and back. Motorised transport, where available, typically costs a quarter of people's tiny income.
Re~Cycle collects second-hand bikes, parts and tools in the UK and ships them to places like Ghana, Liberia, Namibia, and South Africa. There our partners teach local people how to repair and maintain the bikes, helping them to improve their lives in a sustainable way.
Since Re~Cycle started in 1998 it has sent over 30,000 bikes, plus tools and spare parts to 13 countries in Africa. It has been awarded a two-year National Lottery grant and a multi-year Landfill Tax grant. Re-Cycle has also won the first ever Upstart Award, run by The New Statesman and Centrica
Re~Cycle currently operates with a single ‘collection hub' in Colchester, Essex; over the next three years the organistation aims to have five bicycle collection hubs across the UK. To do this Re~Cycle needs your help - volunteers, donations, and gifts-in-kind, like storage, haulage and shipping.
Re-Cycle needs people to donate more bikes to supplement the ones they get from Royal Mail, the police, and cycle shops and manufacturers donating outdated and traded-in stock.
And it's not just Africa that benefits. Re-Cycle's work has a number of benefits right here in the UK:
- Re-Cycle helps reduce waste and landfill
- Volunteers donate their time and energy and in return learn bicycle maintenance skills and meet new people
- Re-Cycle gives work experience and new skills to Duke of Edinburgh volunteers, young offenders, the probation and prison service, people with disabilities and brain injury rehabilitation groups