Essex Pedal Power (EPP); the successful community cycling initiative that launched in Clacton and Jaywick Sands in June 2021, has added a new string to it’s bow, supporting more residents with access to a free quality bike.
Essex Pedal Power Re:Cycles is a new scheme, where local residents can donate either an old or unwanted bike, and mechanics will upcycle and recondition the second-hand bikes, so that they can be redistributed to the community.
Following funding from the Essex Cycle Grant and Tendring Community Fund, the Essex Pedal Power team were able to support and deliver this programme, helping not only more residents in the area, but also contribute to the reduction of unwanted bikes to refuse sites. Supporting the movement of ‘reuse and recycle’, has also been a key objective of the programme.
After receiving an overwhelming number of applications within the first 6 months of Essex Pedal Power launching, it was clear to see that there was a huge need for bikes in Tendring. Many people applied who were ineligible living outside the priority wards, but with this additional funding, Essex Pedal Power have been able to offer an alternative option this summer with Essex Pedal Power Re:Cycles.
So far, 35 bikes have been upcycled and redistributed to the local community, supporting those who live either in or just outside of the Essex Pedal Power priority wards. Through the funding, a couple of volunteers have already achieved their Level 1 City & Guilds Bike Mechanics qualification, further developing their knowledge and skill set, and are now working alongside EPP mechanics Kelvin, Max and Mark. Local bike mechanic James Taylor from J.T Cycle Repairs, has also offered a helping hand in fixing and supporting the newly skilled volunteers to repair the second-hand bikes, making this true a community project.
Working with partners in not only Tendring, but across the county as well, the Re:Cycles scheme has been fortunate enough to be offered bikes that have been left abandoned in parks across Colchester, Basildon and the Tendring district. It’s a great example of partnership working and giving these bikes a new lease of life, to help positively impact a new owner.
One recipient commented; “This bike has offered me a new chance to gain back my freedom, allowing me to leave my house, go shopping, be social with the community, and feel better about myself. Thank you to everyone involved for giving me my sense of freedom back, to go where I want, when I want.”
Essex Pedal Power Re:Cycles has also provided an opportunity for young people and volunteers to be upskilled, in building and maintaining bikes to different sizes and specifications. EPP bike mechanics and volunteers, have been working together to upskill and deliver community work experience to young people in foster families. By attending the local Compass Academy, the young people can learn the basics of building and fixing bikes in a workshop environment, outside of the school day. This experience has not only taught the young people new skills, but has also enabled them to build confidence, meet new people, improve their mental wellbeing and have the opportunity to take part in led-rides on a regular basis, whilst inspiring future possibilities.
The Essex Pedal Power Re:Cycles scheme further enhances the offer of free bikes to residents in Clacton and Jaywick. It’s helping people to access education and employment opportunities and local amenities, whilst improving their health and wellbeing and social circle. Community cycling initiatives like this, contribute to Essex’s climate change agenda and provide a free and sustainable active travel method, whilst bringing the community together.