By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Tue, 19/06/2012 - 14:00

The latest container load of bikes and spares for The Village Bicycle Project in Ghana has just been picked up and taken to the port of Felixstowe. Loaded with 381 bikes, dozens of bags stuffed full of spare parts and hundreds of wheels, tyres and other large spares packed loose, the shipment is due to arrive in 3 weeks time. Many of the bikes will go to projects run by VBP in rural areas of Ghana but some of the spare parts are earmarked for the aptly named "No Rush In Life" bicycle workshop that Re-Cycle is encouraging and doing its best to support, albeit from afar.

Anyone who has visited Ghana will have seen that most of the small enterprises - shops, kiosks, street food vendors and workshops that line the roads in towns and village have religious phrases forming part of their names. Examples might include "In God We Trust Taxi Service", "God Is Merciful Dressmaking", "Walk With The Lord Cold Drinks" or "Fishers Of Men Woodworking". Prosper and Bernard, the two mechanics who set up "The No Rush In Life Bicycle Workshop" chose a name that no doubt reflects their own beliefs! Ghana is in the same time zone as the UK except that GMT is known locally as Ghana Maybe Time. Things get done but not always immediately, if not today it will happen tomorrow - no rush.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Thu, 24/05/2012 - 16:50

One of our volunteers has just got himself a job as a bike mechanic. Leon first came to Re~Cycle in March 2010 on a 6 month extended work experience scheme funded by the Future Jobs Fund. After his 26 paid weeks, Leon continued to come in several times a week as an unpaid volunteer.

He quickly became a popular and highly valued member of our team and brought great enthusiasm and a welcome injection of youthful vigour. Sadly despite the 6 months valuable work experience, Leon was still unable to find paid employment.

Leon began spending as much time as he could assisting and learning from our mechanics Matt and Richard. Through Re~Cyce he recently managed, with funding assistance from the Colchester Job Centre, to gain the Cytech Level 1 Bike Maintenance qualification and has now found employment with a local bike shop. Although only a few hours a week initially, he hopes that it will build up to full time.

All at Re~Cycle are delighted to have given Leon a hand in achieving the start of his ambition and wish him every well deserved success. Although our aim is first and foremost to help people in Africa, we also help people in the UK, to widen the benefit and impact of our work.

All down to the power of a bike!  

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Tue, 22/05/2012 - 14:46

For a LIMITED PERIOD Chelmsford Co-op to mark the celebrations for International Year of Co-operatives are co-ordinating bike collections for us in the Chelmsford area.

In the first four weeks they have collected 293 bikes for us!! A fabulous result.

Keep them coming Chelmsford!!

Please phone 01245 216914

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Tue, 22/05/2012 - 14:30

We now have 2 collection points for bike donations in Chelmsford. If you have a bike you wish to donate and live in or can take your bike to CM2 (Gt. Baddow) area please phone Tim Hatcher 07956 106398. Thanks to CHP for the loan of the storage space that we will be using.

For all other Chelmsford donation enquiries please phone Chris Wybrow 07788 253423.

If you can, please take your bike to the collection point as collections from your address will be limited.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Wed, 09/05/2012 - 10:43

Re~Cycle would like to welcome Kelley Parfitt, our new Trust Fundraiser, to the team.

Kelley has been fundraising for the past six years, all in international development, for which she has a passion.

She'll be working Wednesday to Friday, and raising lots of much needed funds - hint hint, please donate, even if she doesn't ask you!

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Mon, 30/04/2012 - 07:44

Derek writes:

Stayed with Jason last night in his very modest 2 room  village house - communal long drop latrine pit and shower from a bucket of well water. He truly lives very simply and fully integrated into village life. His only comfort is a fan which cools his sleeping area helps keep mosquitoes away. No travelling today - bliss, but busy moving stuff from the defunct Ezetela project to the new No Rush In Life Bicycle Workshop.

Jason Finch has been 'our man in Ghana' for a couple of years.  He's been helping us find out about what's going on on the ground, and with setting up new projects.  Has been all over Africa visiting our partners and other bike reuse projects to find out more.

Is a link to his photos there also, with the brilliant workshop he's created by converting an old shipping container.  The high quality has raised the profile of the shop and cycling in general.  The Ezetela workshop employs five mechanics and has a big focus on repairs, which keeps many bikes on the road, reduces reliance on importing bikes and saves people vital money.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Wed, 25/04/2012 - 11:28

Derek says:

Another busy day with lots of time spent travelling in a crowded decrepid mini bus weaving at speed dodging pot holes and goats. Tomorrow we are attending a bike training session nearby organised by our partner the Village Bicycle Project.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Tue, 24/04/2012 - 14:18

Derek, long serving employee and manager of our Colchester hub, is in Ghana for the first time.  He's visiting partners to get feedback about how we can help them more, tailor our shipments and generally improve what we do.

Living in rural areas with little access to technology, the only contact we've had is through text messages, but they are certainly telling!

1. Meeting with some people from The Village Bicycle Project. They love Re~Cycle but would like us to send them more shipments!

2. Travelling back to Korforidua early tomorrow to spend the day with Ability Bikes Cooperative. The container we sent last month was received recently and they are very pleased with the load. They are truly inspiring and we can take great pride in supporting their work.

We can't wait to hear more from Derek and use the feedback to improve our operations :)

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Wed, 04/04/2012 - 16:56

Re~Cycle is looking for someone with the ability and drive to initiate, develop and maintain a trust fundraising programme from scratch. Although Re~Cycle has received some lottery and statutory grants in the past, it has undertaken very little grant or trust fundraising before.

 21 hours per week, £30,000 pro rata.

Millions of unwanted bicycles are rusting in garages or being thrown away in the UK, while in Africa, a four-hour daily walk is common. Mothers collect clean water, parents trek to the farm, factory or market, and children face a 20 mile walk to school and back.

The charity collects unwanted bikes, parts and tools in the UK and ships them to Africa, 38,000 so far. There, our trusted and capable partners refurbish and maintain the bikes, to ensure a long life. Many teach locals to repair their own bikes, helping them to improve their lives in a sustainable way.

The successful candidate will have:

  • A successful track record of working with, and securing significant grants from major funding organisations

  • Experience of researching funding prospects (with knowledge of source materials)

  • Ability to absorb complex information and present it in a clear, logical and appropriate manner

  • Ability to work as part of a team – the role requires collaboration with both managers and peers

  • The post holder must be self motivated and able to work on his/her own initiative

If that sounds like you and you would like to work with a young, enterprising charity with ambitious plans for growth, please see our online information pack which includes a full job description and person specification, abbreviated terms and conditions and application procedure.

Application Procedure

To apply, please send the following to

  1. An application letter including a summary of why you are applying, your skills and experience and how these are relevant to the role, how you meet the person specification requirements and what in particular you would bring to Re~Cycle.
  2. A copy of your current CV.
  3. The names, positions and contact details of at least two referees, including your current or most recent employer. No contact will be made with any referee in advance of an offer being made, without your prior approval.

Send your application to

Closing Date: 18th April  2012. Shortlisted applicants will be notified by end 20th April .

Interviews: 26th April 2012 in central London

Details and background:

Updated - from questions people have asked:
  • Location - you can work from home, will need to visit London, Colchester and Brighton from time to time
  • Staff - we have 3 full time equivilant staff (only one full time in that mix)

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Wed, 21/03/2012 - 21:45

  • 100+ bikes from Hetland Garden Centre, Dumfries, Scotland
  • 35 bikes from our drop off point in Ipswich
  • 40 bikes from Royal Mail Gatwick
  • 90 bikes from Isis prison

Big Thanks to you all - though we're 'rather tired'!

We shipped to Ghana last week, so this is a good start towards the next container.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Fri, 09/03/2012 - 11:07

Generous Action Bike customers have just donated the 100th bike for Re~Cycle. Bikes that have been collected at their 5 London stores are coming to Re~Cycle for shipment to Africa via Isis Prison in Woolwich where the bikes are being refurbished in their workshop. The workshop provides useful work and learning opportunities for prisoners and ensures that we receive the bikes in good working order. Tony Yerby of Action Bikes says that the number of bikes coming in is steadily increasing as word of the project spreads.

We are enormously grateful for the enthusiasm and commitment of Tony and his colleagues at Action Bikes for making this collection project work and for the generousity of their customers who have donated their old bikes to us.

David Hammond

One of the 100 bikes collected by Action Bikes - kindly donated by David Hammond from Haddenham, Bucks.

By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Sat, 25/02/2012 - 10:04

Our first shipment loaded on the 3rd February is now on its long journey to Malawi. Loaded with 437 bikes and hundreds of spare parts of all shapes and sizes, the container sailed from Felixstowe an is due to arrive at Lilongwe on the 24th April. On arrival, our partner, Salvo Bikes, a project set up by The Salvation Army International Division as part of its Anti Child Trafficking work, will arrange onward transport to the final destination Mchinji near the boarder with Zambia.

This is the second shipment we have sent to this partner and all involved have been delighted at the popularity of the bikes with local people and the success of the newly refitted and expanded bike workshop housed in an old shipping container that we sent loaded with the first shipment of bikes.

As well as the easy to envisage benefit of the bicycles, the workshop employs two bike mechanics and this additional benefit of creating local emplyoment has encouraged the project to create an additional workshop on the site of the Anti Child Trafficking refuge that will teach tailoring and dressmaking skills that will no doubt offer futher work creation opportunities. We are very proud to support the great work the project undertakes.