BikeRegister and the British Transport Police have joined forces to make a bike donation to London Youth Bike Project.
The Clapham charity received 50 bikes from the duo – the bikes had been unclaimed after being left in racks at Waterloo railway station. After a period of time, Network Rail removed the bike and stored them in South West Trains' lost property department managed by South West Trains with some bikes left in storage in excess of one year.
PCSO McKenna of the BTP’s Waterloo Hub came up with the bike donation scheme idea. He said: “My colleague PCSO Rhouila and I were discussing all the unclaimed bikes that are in storage and thought there must be a better use for them."
BTP carry out monthly bike marking sessions at railway stations using BikeRegister.
PCSO McKenna continued: “We checked the bikes over to look for markings but because many of them were not security marked it was impossible to trace their owners. The few bikes in storage that were marked with BikeRegister meant that we were able to access the owner’s details and a total of six bikes are now being reclaimed.
“After doing all we could to reunite the bikes with their owners, we then contacted BikeRegister to see whether they had any suggestions for a group that may benefit from the ones that were still unclaimed. They suggested The Clapham Park Bikes project, a local charity that runs bike workshops during the summer for disadvantaged and disabled youths.”
BikeRegister sales manager James Brown added: “Matching up the unclaimed bikes with The Clapham Park Bike project seemed like an obvious fit for us and one that we knew would be beneficial to young people in the area. The charity does some excellent work teaching children and young adults new bike maintenance skills and we are very happy to be associated with this project.”
PCSO McKenna commented: “South West Trains kindly agreed that the bikes could be donated to the charity and now they are going to make a difference to a number of people in need. It is just one way we can give something back to the local community.”
Ching Wah Wong from The Clapham Park Bikes Project enthused: “We are highly delighted to accept this donation of bikes for our charity and are very grateful to BTP and BikeRegister for arranging this for us.
“This new donation will mean that the children who come to the programme this summer will have some excellent bikes and bike parts to work with.
“The children learn about tools at the workshops, working on their own and also working in small groups, helping each other. They are taught the basics of how to put a bike together and what to do if there are small problems when the bike breaks down.”
The bikes are being transported to the charity by The Co-operative, which supports a number of community projects nationally and internationally, this year backing Carers Trust which supports the role and contribution made by unpaid carers in the UK.
Co-ordinated by Gareth Holt, distribution general manager, and Alex Mhandire, transport operations manager at the West Thurrock Depot, the Co-operative is supplying a lorry and driver to move the bikes from the storage facility at Waterloo to the charity base in Clapham.
Mhandire said: “We are happy to help out for such a good cause, knowing that the bikes will keep many children and young adults occupied this summer.”