Published: Monday, 6th November 2017

An innovative bike reuse programme run by the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Her Majesty's Prison (HMP) Isis is helping turn around young people's lives.

Bikes dropped off at the Council's Recycling Centre are being sent to the prison in Western Way, Thamesmead, where a bicycle repair and training workshop has been established.

The workshop not only refurbishes and repairs bikes but also provides specialist training to young offenders. The rejuvenated bicycles, which now number around 180, have been a sent to Cancer Research UK for resale as part of the Council's wide ranging initiatives to make cycling accessible and affordable for all.

The programme helps prisoners gain valuable skills and increases their future employment opportunities. Once they have completed their training, they will have achieved the internationally recognised level 1 Cytech qualification (Cytech is the internationally recognised training and accreditation scheme for bicycle technicians).

First started in December 2016, the project has saved nearly four tonnes of bikes from the scrap heap and raised nearly £7000 in charitable bike sales for Cancer Research UK.

'Gives prisoners a chance to move forward in their life'

Councillor Jackie Smith, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Environment, said: "The Royal Borough is an innovator in recycling and this pioneering project is no exception. This extremely worthwhile programme gives prisoners a chance to move forward in their life and gain a respected qualification in bike engineering while recycling bikes and raising money for charity.

"It's a testament to what we can achieve when working with local partners and I am delighted to support such an innovative scheme which is also changing people's lives."

'Project delivers on so many fronts'

Councillor Danny Thorpe, Deputy Leader of the Royal Borough of Greenwich and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainability, said: "This project delivers on so many fronts - it's green and helps us fulfil our commitments to sustainable transport, recycling and waste minimization while training up young people leaving prison and entering the job market. We look forward to further working with HMP Isis as this exciting project goes from strength to strength."

'Picking up valuable skills and a qualification'

Governor of HMP Isis, Emily Thomas, said: "This is a great programme for all of the prisoners at our repair shop. It helps them gain experience working in an industry some of them may never have worked in before while picking up valuable skills and a qualification which is very well respected on the job market. We are proud to be working in partnership with the Royal Borough to deliver this great recycling programme."

'So thankful to everyone at the bike workshop'

Lynn Muller, Head of Product at Cancer Research UK, Trading, said: "Being part of a scheme that works to improve prisoners' prospects and put more great products in our shops to help fund our life-saving research made perfect sense. We're so thankful to everyone at the bike workshop in HMP Isis for their efforts and would love to be involved in the Royal Borough of Greenwich's fantastic initiative in the future."