Offenders’ recycling helps our tea parties

Contact the Elderly receive �1000 boost
Contact the Elderly receive �1000 boost

West Lothian charity Contact The Elderly has received a £1,000 boost – thanks to bikes refurbished by people on Community Payback Orders.

Contact the Elderly is a charity which is solely dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation among older people.

Supported by a network of volunteers, it organises monthly Sunday afternoon tea parties for small groups of older people, aged 75 and over, who live alone.

West Lothian Council’s Criminal and Youth Justice Service uses the skills of offenders who are placed on a Community Payback Order and told to do ‘unpaid work’ by the courts to recondition donated bikes.

The scheme provides an alternative way for someone to repay the community for the harm caused by their offending behaviour.

Donated bikes are taken to a central workshop and, overseen by a qualified technician, they are reconditioned by the offenders.

Bikes which are not suitable for repair are stripped for spare parts and the remainder is scrapped.

Proceeds from the scrap metal pays for hi-vis vests, safety helmets, locks and lights which are provided with each ‘new to you bike’, with any remaining money donated to local charities.

Offenders choose who should receive the money and Contact The Elderly was the chosen charity. Earlier this year a donation was also made to a local food bank.

Contact The Elderly runs tea parties for its members which are described as ‘a real lifeline of friendship for our older guests who have little or no contact with family or friends’.

The donation received will be used to host tea parties here in West Lothian.

Morna May, East Scotland development officer with Contact the Elderly, said: “Within the West Lothian area we have a waiting list of elderly guests waiting to join the tea party groups.

“This donation will enable us to whittle that down.”

If you have an old bike that you would like to donate, please take it to any council recycling centre.

For more information about the project or other aspects of the work undertaken, please contact the Criminal and Youth Justice team on 01506 280999 or email

The Community Payback Order came into force in Scotland on February 1 2011 and replaced provisions for Community Service Orders, Probation Orders and Supervised Attendance Orders.

It consists of a number of requirements. From these, the court may select one or more in deciding the make up of the order for each offender.

These can be tailored specifically to the person, based on the nature of their crime and the underlying issues which are fuelling it, which may need to be addressed in order to stop them re-offending in the future.