Abandoned bikes brought back to life-changing impact

Published: 15 Dec 2020

Southern Railway has forged four new recycling partnerships with charities who will restore bikes abandoned on the railway to support their vital community work across Sussex, Surrey and south London.

All four charities run bike recycling programmes, and every month Southern will donate up to 30 bikes from its stock of abandoned and unclaimed machines to each charity in turn.

The train company has already delivered two batches of 25 bikes, one to the Sussex Community Development Association (SCDA) in Newhaven, and the other to Chichester-based Stonepillow. Stonepillow will refurbish and then sell its bikes to help fund its work supporting homeless and vulnerable people. SCDA will also sell the renovated bikes to raise funds, and its recycling workshop is itself part of the organisation’s ‘Get Socially Active – Recycle’ programme to provide learning and practical skills, and routes to employment.

Lee Wakefield, SCDA Employability Service Manager said: “We are very grateful to Southern for their kind donation. Our participants in the Recycle programme gain valuable skills in bicycle maintenance and repair before the refurbished bikes are sold on to local people. We are looking ahead to a busy 2021, as the demand for refurbished bikes grows, as does the need to continue supporting people in our local community to gain the skills they need to get back to work.”

Southern’s next delivery from its Horsham store will be to Cycling UK’s Brixton workshop, which aims to provide healthy transport to people on low incomes, while increasing the popularity of cycling as a social activity with its ‘Break the cycle of isolation’ campaign. 

The train company’s fourth new partner is Hove-based YMCA DownsLink, covering Sussex and Surrey, where residents will gain life skills and all the benefits of cycling by restoring the bikes for their own use.

Angie Doll, Managing Director for Southern and Gatwick Express, said: “It’s fantastic to be working with all our partners not only to promote healthy, green transport by extending the life of previously unwanted bikes, but to support these charities who are providing truly life-changing support for the most vulnerable and marginalised people in our communities. 

“Through this time of great national challenge, we are proud to help keep Britain moving safely and sustainably. We’re building strong local partnerships right across our network to help communities recover and prosper.”

The new partnerships follow Southern’s successful schemes with West Sussex County Council and Horsham District Council, in which the local authorities’ recycling programmes restored bikes and distributed them to key workers at local NHS Trusts.

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