A desperate plea has been made for a business to help out a struggling community project which soon celebrates its 12th birthday.
On Yer Bike is a bicycle repair project which gives volunteers – and HMP Stocken prisoners – the chance to learn new skills, while also allowing families, particularly those on low incomes, to afford bikes for their children.
However, volunteers have been unable to carry out their good work for the last year after a hike in rent meant they were forced to leave their previous unit, in Hollis Road.
Well-known Grantham faces Sandra Mullin MBE and Stuart McBride run On Yer Bike and are pleading with Grantham businesses to provide a low-rent unit they can use to keep the project running. Without it, it may have to close.
Sandra said: “It’s a community project and it’s for Grantham. If we could find a unit in Grantham that would be nice, but it doesn’t have to be central. We just need someone to help us.”
Ideally, the unit will have 2,000-2,500 sq ft of space, plus running water and toilet facilities – these are a legal requirement to allow the project to accept volunteers.
From their new home they will restore and maintain bikes and sell on to anyone wishing to buy them, often for as little as £10-£30.
On Yer Bike launched on May 20, 2005, after Sandra, then a district council housing officer for the Earlesfield estate, asked youngsters what she could do to “keep them out of trouble”.
With “bikes” a common answer, she completed a City and Guilds in bicycle maintenance, recruited volunteers and set about restoring old and broken bikes.
A partnership with HMP Stocken, in Rutland, followed, which sees inmates work on bikes, taking parts from different models to make a complete bike to then sell through On Yer Bike.
Stuart, a retired Grantham PCSO, said: “It gives the inmates the chance of a career outside after prison. They get a qualification in bicycle maintenance, similar to a BTEC.
“They work extremely hard.”
On Yer Bike has had several homes over the years, including Ambergate Sports College and beneath the stands at The Meres stadium. Now, around 1,000 bikes are being stored under tarpaulin courtesy of Grantham businessman Nick Pacey until a new home can be found.
If you can help, call Sandra on 07791 632614 or Stuart on 07760 311593.