Case Studies

Cycle donation

by Mark Rowe

Some 50 bikes with bike parts and accessories are being donated to a London bike charity in a new scheme launched by British Transport Police (BTP) in association with BikeRegister.

The bikes had been unclaimed after being left in racks at Waterloo railway station. Network Rail removed the bikes and stored them in a lost property department managed by South West Trains. Many of the bikes had been in store for more than a year.

The idea for the new bike donation scheme has been developed by PCSO McKenna from BTP’s Waterloo Hub.

BTP offer monthly bike marking sessions at railway stations using BikeRegister, a bike marking initiative across UK police forces.

PCSO McKenna said: “My colleague PCSO Rhouila and I were discussing all the unclaimed bikes that are in storage and thought there must be a better use for them. We checked the bikes over to look for markings but because many of them were not security marked it was impossible to trace their owners. The few bikes in storage that were marked with BikeRegister meant that we were able to access the owner’s details and a total of six bikes are now being reclaimed.

“After doing all we could to reunite the bikes with their owners, we then contacted BikeRegister to see whether they had any suggestions for a group that may benefit from the ones that were still unclaimed. They suggested The Clapham Park Bikes project, a local charity that runs bike workshops during the summer for disadvantaged and disabled youths.”

James Brown, Sales Manager for BikeRegister, said: “Matching up the unclaimed bikes with The Clapham Park Bike project seemed like an obvious fit for us and one that we knew would be beneficial to young people in the area. The charity does some excellent work teaching children and young adults new bike maintenance skills and we are very happy to be associated with this project.”

PCSO McKenna added: “South West Trains kindly agreed that the bikes could be donated to the charity and now they are going to make a difference to a number of people in need. It is just one way we can give something back to the local community.”

Ching Wah Wong from The Clapham Park Bikes Project said: “We are highly delighted to accept this donation of bikes for our charity and are very grateful to BTP and BikeRegister for arranging this for us.

“This new donation will mean that the children who come to the programme this summer will have some excellent bikes and bike parts to work with.”

She added: “The children learn about tools at the workshops, working on their own and also working in small groups, helping each other. They are taught the basics of how to put a bike together and what to do if there are small problems when the bike breaks down.”

Reggie, an autistic boy aged 15, attended the workshop last summer. He said: “I feel good coming to the Bike Club. I can help other children to fix their bikes.”

Reggie’s carer added: “Reggie loves coming to the Bike Club. He is much calmer afterwards and looks forward to the next session.”

The bikes are being transported to the Clapham Park Bikes Project by The Co-operative, which supports a number of community projects nationally and internationally, many of them youth-based.

The Co-operative’s chosen charity this year is Carers Trust, which supports the role and contribution made by unpaid carers in the UK.

Co-ordinated by Gareth Holt, Distribution General Manager, and Alex Mhandire, Transport Operations Manager at the West Thurrock Depot, the Co-operative is supplying a lorry and driver to move the bikes from the storage facility at Waterloo to the charity base in Clapham.

Mr Mhandire said: “We are happy to help out for such a good cause, knowing that the bikes will keep many children and young adults occupied this summer.”

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