Temporary brake on restoration of bikes

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An Oamaru programme that provides bicycles for children from financially disadvantaged families in North Otago has been put on hold while funding is sought. The Waitaki Community Bike Project, based on a successful Dunedin model, was announced at the Waitaki Resource Recovery Park in April 2014.
Mentors and volunteers restored bicycles donated by members of the public or recovered from the recovery park. Once restored, they became part of a “bike library’, a system which Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust business manager Dave Clare said resulted in bicycles being donated to children as a permanent loan.
When children grew too big for their bicycles, they could exchange them for larger ones.
He said since the project launched, about 50 bicycles had been or were close to being restored by volunteer and St Kevin’s College pupil Fifita Palaa, recovery park volunteer Barry Martin, staff member Dave Mackay and other volunteers.
“The public donated a large number of bikes. Some we disassembled for parts and others we fully restored.
“We hope, when we get the next round of funding, we can put a few more bikes out there and the library will become more self-sustainable. It’s on hold for now.”Initially, the recovery trust secured $4500 in funding from the Perpetual Guardian Trust in Dunedin and the Ministry of Internal Affairs Community Organisation Grants Scheme.
Those funds were used to buy tools, safety gear and spare parts for bicycles.
However, those funds have been exhausted.
The trust has applied for similar funding through the Lotteries Commission, which Mr Clare expects to be approved in about a month.
“That will give us enough to see us through to the end of the year,” he said.
“The project was going very well. We utilised a facility at the polytech which has now disappeared, so we have two options coming up _ one at Literacy North Otago in Ribble St, and we may well have facilities available in Chelmer St in the future.”While bicycles are not at present being loaned out, people can still donate them.
Mr Clare said the project benefited the community in many ways.
It gave children confidence and a sense of maturity, while it also gave those who undertook the restoration mechanical skills to use later in life. They also had the opportunity to gain NCEA credits in communication skills and problem-solving.

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