BLOG: A chapel with a difference…

Mayoral Lead for Wellbeing, Councillor Tim Beaumont, visits Recycles Merseyside, where they bring old worn out objects back to life…

“Sometimes when all else fails, you’ve got to smack it with a hammer!”

Not what I was expecting to hear as I walked into the Salvation Army building on Prescot Road. But this is a chapel with a difference: since early 2016 it’s been the headquarters of Recycles Merseyside. In a converted office at the front of the building is a fully equipped bike maintenance workshop. On one stand Mike is rebuilding a bike for his daughter. In another corner Gary and Billy are wrestling with a particularly stubborn stuck headset – hence the use of a hammer. All under the encouraging eye of Phil, the project coordinator.

Recycles is one of the increasing number of bike recycling projects found across the city. Charities and community coops like Recycles, ONYA Bikes, Peloton Liverpool and North Liverpool Cycle Club take old bikes, do them up and then sell them on with the proceeds going back into the charity. This stops bikes going to landfill and is an affordable alternative to buying a new bike from a shop.

But the benefits go beyond that. Phil, the Recycles Project Coordinator explains: ‘We work with some very vulnerable people and train them up in new skills. Some of the people who work on the bikes come to us from our work with the homeless. Often getting someone in accommodation is only part of the solution. People need to feel part of a community and feel that they’re doing something useful with their time. We’ve found that coming here really helps with their wellbeing and helps them move forward.’

The Recycles project is still growing. Phil’s intention to offer a formal qualification to the project attendees: ‘That’s our goal – to see people come here with nothing but leave with a city and guilds certificate and hopefully go on to employment.’

One of the great things about my role as Mayoral Lead for Wellbeing is visiting projects like Recycles – community based initiatives that make a difference. You can find out more about Recycles Merseyside on their Facebook page www.facebook.com/recycles.merseyside/. If you want to find out more about other bike recycling projects in Liverpool visit http://liverpool.gov.uk/parking-travel-and-roads/cycling/cycling-information/ or www.merseytravel.gov.uk/travelling-around/cyclingandwalking/Pages/Bike-Recycling.aspx