Bike scheme’s re-cycle opportunity

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Old bikes are being re-cycled in a new local scheme designed to provide work opportunities for people who have struggled with addictions.

Linlithgow’s first community bike refurbishing project is now fully in gear thanks to a partnership between the town’s 1st Step Cafe community group and Police Scotland.

It aims to work with people affected by addiction by providing six-week bike refurbishing training courses.

Making bikes affordable is the main spin-off benefit for the public, while for the volunteers involved in the project it’s reckoned a great way to gain new skills and grow in confidence.

The 1st Step group, which also runs the 1 Step café at the Longcroft Hall every Tuesday (12.30pm to 3pm) helps people who have had problems with addictions, mainly alcohol and drugs, to help themselves and support each other.

The police have made available old garage premises to be used as workshops.

Angie Robinson, a local community practice nurse, said: “Anyone can be affected by addictions at some time in their lives, and addictions have huge impacts for individuals, families and communities.

“At 1st Step 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 to themselves, each other and the wider community.”

Inspector Scott Robertson, the Linlithgow community policing Inspector stated “Police Scotland are delighted to be working in partnership with 1st Step and fully support their latest project/training course.

“If the dedication and effort of all those involved in getting this project up and running is anything to go by, this project is likely to be very successful.”

A spokesman for the workshop, said: “Hundreds of unwanted bikes are unnecessarily scrapped in West Lothian every year – we want to get as many of possible out of the dump, and on the road.

“Because of their history, older bikes are unique.

“Many of them are amazing quality, with hand build frames made in the UK, and they have loads of character. They just need someone to see the potential, and have the motivation to do a bit of work to bring them back into use.”

Maria Throp, 1 Step group development manager, said: “The volunteers are up and running now, training and refurbishing old bikes to give them a new lease of life.

“So if you have an old bike cluttering up your shed that you’d like to donate and give a new start – or you’re looking for a refurbished bike that’s just right for you, get in touch.

“Many of our volunteers are affected by addiction but we warmly welcome anyone who’s interested in bikes and cycling.

“It’s a fun place to volunteer, with lots of opportunities to gain skills and make friends. We’re always looking for new volunteers, so check out our Facebook page for updates and opportunities to get involved”.

The Ist Step FB site is at https://www.facebook.com/1st-Step-Cafe-1628931670660703/