Unclaimed stolen and unwanted bicycles from Lewisham are to be sent to disadvantaged young people in Africa in a new scheme run by a community youth group.
The Young Lewisham Project (YLP) based in Forest Hill is repairing them to deliver to Malawi. Police officers from Perry Vale Safer Neighbourhoods Team in Lewisham have supported the project with a donation of 13 unclaimed bikes.
Inspector Dave Brighouse, of the Lewisham Safer Neighbourhoods team, said: “We are really pleased that we are able to donate these bikes to such a worthy programme. The majority of them have come from a pool of those that we have recovered that were reported lost or stolen which the owners failed to claim.
“Amongst the bikes donated one of them was my daughter’s old bike, it was no longer being used and as this is such a great cause I know it will be going to a good home and someone will get as much pleasure from it as my daughter did.”
No bikes have been sent yet as the repair work has just begun. YLP aims to work with Recycle, a charity who already ship bikes out to Africa and teach people how to use them.
The project was created by Dave Newman, 57, projects’ co-ordinator, after he watched the documentary A Boy Who Flies about paragliding in Malawi which included a footage of Godfrey Massuli, a youth worker who is opening a centre to motivate and educate young people.
Newman decided to contact Massuli via the films website to see whether he would be interested in receiving bikes for his project and now the pair are working together.
He explained: “Everyone in Malawi uses bikes to get around. They have changed people’s lives and now we are going to work with Godfrey providing bikes to his project.”
YLP helps 100-150 young people aged 10 to 16 years to gain confidence through various projects which teach essential communication and teamwork skills. Newman said: “Young people that are interested in learning about bicycle maintenance and riding bikes come to a group on Saturdays.”
One YLP member Davina, aged 12, from Forest Hill, said: “These bikes will give us more opportunities to work on bikes and recycle them.”
Newman is asking for donations from the public which can be dropped at the youth group, or the team can collect from the local area. He added: “We’ll take any bikes as we’ll either do them up or we’ll use them for spare parts or scrap.”
To contact YLP to donate a bike call: 0208 291 9771, or email firstname.lastname@example.org