A Linlithgow project has received £137,945 from the National Lottery, which will enable more recovering addicts to turn their lives around.
Bicycle refurbishing venture 1st Step Bikes which is based at Linlithgow Recycling Centre, will be able to expand its activities and spread the skills mastered by existing staff and volunteers.
Volunteers at 1st Step Bikes fix up old unwanted bikes and give them a new lease of life before they are sold or gifted back to the community.
And in doing so they complete an accredited training course. Afterwards many move onto more positive destinations such as paid work or college.
Those involved include mechanic Stephen McKnight (37), who credits the group for helping him to rebuild his life after nearly two decades of being stuck in an lifestyle that was mired in both addiction and crime.
Stephen said: “I first became involved with 1st Step Bikes in 2016, to learn some transferable skills.
“The plan was to break some of the isolation that addiction can cause and make some connections between ourselves and other support networks within the community.
“Over the last three years I have been one of the lead mechanics within the project, which has given me structure to my life and taught me to be responsible.
“Most importantly, it has helped me to repair and rebuild relationships with my loved ones.
“It’s enabling me to be a son, a brother, a partner and a father, which would not have been possible without the continuous support from 1st Step and the new relationships I have been able to make.”
Maria Throp, development manager, 1st Step Development Ventures, said: “We are all extremely excited to have received this award from the National Lottery.
“It will make a huge difference to what our team can achieve in terms of providing support and training for people and families getting their lives back on track after being affected by addiction.
“We are a community group run by a mixture of people, many of whom have been affected by addiction. Anyone can be affected by addiction at any time in their lives and it can have huge impacts for individuals, families and communities.
“We’re all about getting people together to provide a positive environment, where they can support each other and work together,and make a real difference.”