On your bike: Salvation Army gives new life to dumped bikes

Lt John Clifton with some of the bikes

Lt John Clifton with some of the bikes - Credit: Archant

If you have an unloved bike gathering dust in a shed or garage, a group of people are keen to get their hands on it.

Lt John Clifton with some of the bikes

Lt John Clifton with some of the bikes - Credit: Archant

The Salvation Army, Clements Road, Ilford are piloting a project of reconditioning old bikes, teaching skills and, hopefully, selling them on along the way.

The project, which is in its beginning stages, teaches people struggling with addictions of homelessness, a practical skill which could help them find employment.

John Clifton, 26, corps manager, said: “It’s been brilliant. It’s really cool that a space that is a place of worship is being used as a workshop as well to help people. I really like seeing that happen.”

The team have had about 70 bikes delivered so far, many from the East London Waste Authority, which they have repaired, cleaned up, and are now ready to be sold.

Organisers hope that the bikes will be put on sale at the end of June, before the church is closed for renovation work.

“The project has gone really well,” Mr Clifton said. “We hope in the long term that we can get a retail space, but that could be a couple of years away. Selling bikes will cover running costs and can be reinvested into the project.”

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The Salvation Army ran a night shelter over the winter months, and some of the people who stayed there have returned to take part in the project.

“It’s a way for guys who have moved into a more stable situation, but who are not quite ready for work yet, to get some experience before looking for a job. If they are committed then there’s an offer of a reference from us as well.”

Mr Clifton said that volunteers have been passing on their experience to those attending the workshop and one is now using the experience to apply for jobs.

“We’ve got a few bike mechanics and guys with a bit of experience. Some people who come are just really interested in bikes.”

If you would like to volunteer, or have a bike you would like to donate, contact 020 8478 2961.

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