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Young Offenders Help Local Hospice Raise Funds

Young Offenders Help Local Hospice Raise Funds

Published by the Mix96 News Team at 1:30pm 5th August 2016.

Young offenders have been working on donated bikes to help raise money for patients at South Bucks Hospice.

About ten young men at HM Young Offenders’ Institute in Aylesbury work five days a week fixing up old cycles which are then sent to Hospice shops for resale.

The prisoners, who are instructed by a specialist officer, learn various skills and techniques which they hope will help them find jobs when they are released.

Image: South Bucks Hospice CEO Jo Woolf and instructor Phil Abayateye

Jo and Philip, the instructor2

Michael, 19, who has been involved in the scheme for around three months, said:

“It keeps me out of the cell. It keeps me active. I have learnt a lot since I have been here, and it feels good to be helping the charity.”

“We are giving them back a lot of bikes and they tell us they have sold a lot of them – it’s a good feeling.”

The prisoners repair about 15 bicycles a week. They are then taken to the re-use shops at the Household Waste Recycling Centres at either High Heavens in High Wycombe or Aston Clinton.

Aston Clinton refurbed bikes 2
The Hospice estimates that 87 cycles have been sold to the public in the last four months, raising more than £6,300 for patients.

Another prisoner – Albert, 21 – spoke of how he became involved in the project just over a year ago after seeing a leaflet on a noticeboard.

“I was bored and I thought let me see what this is about and I applied for it,” he said. “I have learnt a lot of skills, such as how to service bikes and how to look at problems.

“They are trying to get their best out of their life. I have a life and have got to appreciate it and we have got to do our bit.

“I am in prison but I still have a life, but their life is coming to an end.”

Aston Clinton refurbed bikes 3

Yahya, 20, has been on the project for about a year. He explained:

“We break the bike apart, clean it up and if is broken, repair it, change the parts and put it back together. I want to do something with engineering, but I am doing this for charity. It feels good to do it for charity, and we get to come out of our cells.”

Philip Abayateye, the instructional officer, said:

“The bicycles are brought in for the charity and we look at the condition to see if they are fixable or not. We recondition those that are suitable and make sure they are fit for purpose. There are quality and safety checks made before they go out.”

He said the prisoners learn a lot of skills in terms of bicycle repair and managing resources.

Laura Boyle, Industries Manager at the prison, said:

“We teach employability skills and to respect a working environment, especially as some of these young men haven’t worked prior to coming to prison. We help them to understand not only what skills they need to obtain a job, but more importantly, the skills they need to keep it. We need to provide more opportunities like this, ensuring our young men are purposefully engaged.
“When you explain to them that this work ultimately funds a nurse for the hospice, you see it click and they know they are making a difference.”

South Bucks Hospice is appealing for unwanted bikes to be donated to the hospice’s ReUse sites based in Aston Clinton and High Wycombe Household Waste and Recycling Centres, or call them on 01296 632766.

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