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New initiative in Barrow Hill puts bikes back on the road instead of in landfill

Bikes that might have been destined for landfill are back on the road with help from a Derbyshire County Council Action Grant. 

The Barrow Hill Community Trust was awarded £9,855 to help set up Barrow Hill Bikes, a cycle workshop where unwanted bikes are rebuilt by volunteers and sold at an affordable price. There was an ideal venue for the workshop – the local Memorial Hall – which had fallen into disrepair and the Trust are gradually building it back up into a multi-use community space. 

The cycle workshop opened in early 2019 with two trained cycle mechanics and a youth worker employed to work with young people. At least 12 youngsters get involved in the weekly sessions learning the skills to repair bikes. Sometimes they are fixing their own bikes and at other times they mend bikes that have been donated to the project by local residents rather than being thrown out. 

Jonathan Symons, lead project co-ordinator for Barrow Hill Bikes, said: “The bike workshop is a real success. The youngsters thrive on learning to fix bikes and every week we see their confidence grow.

“It’s great practical experience and we’re teaching them business skills as well. Some of them are hoping to go on and do further training in mechanics – including at degree level. I am very proud of what we’re achieving.

“The Action Grant has been crucial in this project as it has funded experienced teachers and some of the materials needed. Applying for the money was straightforward and we got a decision within a few weeks”. 

Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration, Councillor Tony King, said: “I have seen this project in action and it’s inspiring – an excellent use of their Action Grant. 

“Our enterprising approach with these grants is empowering local communities to set up projects like these with our support. I wish the group every success and hope their story encourages other groups to set up similar projects”.

The Action Grant scheme supports community groups across Derbyshire with their activities. There are 2,000 grants of up to £500 to help groups fund projects and events which will benefit their local communities.

There are also some larger grants of £5,000 and £10,000 for new projects which offer long-term benefits for local people and promote two or more of the Action Grant themes. The county council has now awarded Action Grants totalling £375,000 to 462 groups across Derbyshire in the first four rounds of the scheme since it launched in May 2018.

All the details of the scheme, which runs until 31 May 2020, are available at derbyshire.gov.uk/action  including information about all the grants already awarded. 

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