News



By: Luke Dubuis

Posted: Fri, 27/06/2014 - 09:46

Following last months’ introduction to Jason, the Country Director in Ghana for our partner - Village Bicycle Project, we’ve got some great news as to share regarding a Re~Cycle funded programme that ran over the month of March. 

Jason, Prosper, Akapo, Abdul and Sammy of the Village Bicycle Project held 12 one-day workshops within the Brong-Ahafo Region to accompany every one of the 254 bicycles they delivered. This was a fantastic chance for new recipients to learn basic repair and maintenance skills to accompany their new bike.

The team then ran 4 Tools-workshops – an advanced learning course open to anyone who attended the One-Day workshop, wherein participants could purchase the tools they’ve been taught to use.

Village Bicycle Project programs

Programmes were held in 3 villages (highlighted in red), located in the far west of the Brong-Ahafo Region right near the Ivorian Border.

Biama

Biama -  Ghana - Village Bicycle Project

Biama has a population of 200 – with no light, water or health clinic, the residents are totally dependant on Bodaa for amenities, so having a bicycle makes everyday life much easier. A total of 40 bicycles were delivered along with some high quality tools for the local fitter to use for maintaining the bikes.

Bodaa

Bodaa Ghana Village Bicycle Project

Unlike Biama, Bodaa is a little better off – with access to power and a bus stop. This was the third time in 5 years that Village Bicycle Project had run workshops in Bodaa, with 60 bikes being delivered this time around. The Biama and Bodaa programmes ran concurrently in Biama and it was fantastic to see the previous recipients with the bicycles they’d been given as long as four years ago!

Asiri

Asiri Ghana Village Bicycle Project

This is the third time that Village Bicycle Project had held workshops in Asiri, a much larger village that serves as the last transport link for half a dozen smaller villages beyond it. A brilliant total of 160 bikes were delivered, with many of the previous programme participants attending workshops.

Asiri Ghana Village Bicycle Project 2

Many of the bicycles went to farmers, as the three villages where the bikes were delivered are situated within a large cashew growing community. Farmers often have to commute between multiple farms because their land is spread across patches, a bike saves them vital time and energy. With the cashew harvest coming into full swing, it was perfect timing as the bikes prove to be invaluable to their work.

Village Bicycle Project March Programme

The programme being delivered is now at its most effective and it’s fantastic to see that Jason and the Village Bicycle Project are now leaving behind skills and tools that will make a huge difference to these villagers lives. Having attracted hundreds of people during the course of their workshops, it’s also the most successful programme of 2014 so far!

Village Bicycle Project Ghana April

Learn more about the Village Bicycle Project

Help us provide more bicycles for Africa - Donate




By: Luke Dubuis

Posted: Fri, 13/06/2014 - 13:22

What a day! On Wednesday the 9th of June, Re~Cycle brought together all its UK based partners to share their ideas and experiences. This was a brilliant opportunity for the partners to meet one another, discuss best practice and for us to get an understanding of how to better support our partners in 2014 and beyond!

The partners in attendance were:

Glad’s House, Kaloko Trust, Salvation Army International Development Team and The Wonder Years Centre of Excellence.

The discussions proved to be incredibly insightful and did a lot to increase Re~Cycle’s awareness of key issues faced by the partners. This included the need for basic business training for the workshops, to follow on from the mechanic training we provided in the past few months and how import duties were causing issues for some of our partners.

The day proved to be a great success and as a result, Re~Cycle will be holding a partner event at least once a year!

 




By: Derek Balcombe

Posted: Mon, 02/06/2014 - 08:06

We have now completed our move to our new warehouse at Wormingford, a few miles north of Colchester. Our new address is

Unit 8 The Grove Estate, Colchester Road, Wormingford, Colchester, CO6 3AJ

Tel: 01206 617865

Our new warehouse is only a few miles north of Colchester on the B1508 road to Bures. It is a couple of miles past West Bergholt on the right hand side just past a Z bend a mile before Wormingford village.

It will take us a little while to settle in and get back up to speed but we are already planning our first container loading from Wormingford. We apologise to all who may find our new address, being out of Colchester, less convenient but the Wormingford warehouse was the most suitable and reasonably priced of all of the options we looked at and we think the building will suit our needs very well and we look forward to making it our home for many years to come.

 

 




By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Sat, 24/05/2014 - 15:49

Meet Jason. Country Director in Ghana for our partner - Village Bicycle Project (VBP).

The Village Bicycle Project in Africa
Jason at work with Village Bicycle Project

Jason’s journey began not so many years ago as a brave Re~Cycle volunteer in London, whilst studying for university and working part time in a local bike shop. After assisting us to dispatch a container load of bikes to Ghana, he was inspired to see the impact on the ground and ventured out to Africa.  

He was so enthused with the impact that a bicycle could have in rural communities that he decided to re-locate to Ghana permanently! As a volunteer, with some expenses, he investigated how our two partners in Ghana were working, what aspects of the program were most effective, what could be improved, and how best he could help….

He then went on a ‘grand tour’ of African bike re-use projects. He was interested to see what our other projects were doing and what other people were doing in general.

As a result of his experiences and findings he went on to spend several years building, developing and managing a self-sufficient, full service bike shop in Dodowa, southern Ghana.

A bicycle workshop in Ghana, Africa
The Ezetela Bicycle Workshop

This was an amazing set up created by converting an old shipping container, with sun/rain awning, where any bike mechanic would have felt at home. It workshop gave great pride to the five mechanics working there and helped develop a sense of aspiration for bicycles with the locals.

The Ezetela workshop had a big focus on repairs, which kept many bikes on the road, reducing reliance on importing bikes and saving people vital money.

A mechanic working in Jason Finch's Ezetela Workshop, Ghana, Africa.
A mechanic at Jason's Ezetela workshop in Ghana

Whilst running the shop Jason developed a close collaboration with the Village Bicycle Project, assisting with various small projects over a period of two years, which ultimately led to him to taking a paid position with them full-time.

Village Bicycle Project
Village Bicycle Project training

Jason is now supervising programs across Ghana whilst building relationships with Ghanaian staff. Together they have improved their bicycle training curriculum and teaching methods, and brought more women into the one-day, and advanced repair workshops.

His team has also implemented a riding program to help women become confident riders, ensuring they get the most use from their bikes and can maintain them properly (Stay tuned for more stories from Jason next week).

Teaching young women to ride in Africa
Village Bicycle Project - 'Learn to Ride' program in action.

Jason’s current focus is on strengthening relationships with village bicycle repairers, and is now working deeper in ‘the bush’ where bikes are needed most.

In addition to his experience as program coordinator and his previous experience working with bicycles in Africa, Jason brings his great sense of humor, excellent photography skills (visit Jason’s Flickr) and love of all things Africa.

If, like Jason, you have a passion for bicycles and would like to make a difference, why not volunteer with Re~Cycle, and who knows where you might end up in a few years from now.

--

Learn more about the Village Bicycle Project

Help us provide more bicycles for Africa - Donate




By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Sat, 24/05/2014 - 14:59

Re~Cycle is looking for someone to help our ambitious expansion plans......

A new role - ideal for an experienced, results driven Senior Corporate Fundraiser who can lead on existing partnerships as well as winning new ones. In particular this role will manage a high profile long-term relationship that we have with Halfords – so you’ll need to hit the ground running!

We’re looking for someone who has four plus years of experience in Corporate Fundraising, knows how to maximise income through relationship building and has a methodical yet creative approach with a flair for business oriented fundraising. Ideally, you’ll have an understanding of or interest in international development, although this is not essential. You’ll be joining a small team with only one other fundraiser (Trusts), so being self-motivated is essential, especially if home-based.

3 days a week, with some flexibility

£18,000 for three days (30k full-time)

Re~Cycle is a UK registered charity based in Colchester, Essex. Since 1997 we have sent over 54,000 unwanted bikes to Africa, benefitting 324,000 people and preventing hundreds of tonnes of landfill and bike disuse in the UK. Our bikes, plus spare parts and tools, go to eight project partners in seven countries: Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, The Gambia and Zambia. Our bikes improve people’s life prospects, create employment and help people access school and health services.

The successful candidate will have:

  • A successful track record of managing a fast moving workplace
  • Good computer skills and a confident phone manner
  • Ability to field front line contact with the charity
  • 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
  • Confidence to manage and prioritise a varied workload


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:

Timeline:

  • Closes 11th June, 22:00
  • Shortlisted applicants will be notified by end 18th June
  • Interviews will be held on Monday 23rd June in Colchester

To apply ( email only please), please send the following to jobs@re-cycle.org - and state the following in the subject line: Corp Fund, and your name:

  • 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. In particular explain when and how you have a) initiated new corporate partnerships and b) managed relationships with corporate partners (max 2 side, please save the file starting with your name and start the document with your name - rather than a title such as ‘current CV’)
  • CV (max 3 side, To apply (by email only please), please send the following to jobs@re-cycle.org:  - and state the following in the subject line: Corp Fund, and your name
  • 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

Details and background:

Misc:

  • Staff - we have 6.5 full time equivalent staff (5 full time in that mix) and many wonderful volunteers
  • Informal work environment



By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Sat, 10/05/2014 - 18:43

Great news! Re~Cycle is shortlisted for the Business Charity Awards for our partnership with Halfords. The awards are run by Third Sector magazine to recognise the outstanding contribution made by businesses in the UK to good causes.

The partnership really helps the public access Re~Cycle, through periodic national collection events. Stay tuned for future collection dates. They’re also raising money for us, which helps.

When we started working with Halfords, they wanted to see how we/our partners operate on the ground in Africa. So in late 2013 we visited 5 workshops in Namibia and they were really impressed with how it all works.

 

Halfords and Re~Cycle team in Africa
Halfords CSR Manager - Emma, with Merlin and Derek from Re~Cycle on their visit to BEN Namibia.

In the photo, BEN Namibia were showing us a prospective new site for one of their 31 workshops which they were moving to expand. The site is on a main road, and just next to site where pensions are paid and where grandparents often buy bikes for their grandchildren.

We hope to pick up our gong in London on Tuesday…so please keep your fingers crossed! :)

 




By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Sat, 10/05/2014 - 11:54

Ride25 and Re~Cycle have teamed up to offer an incredible, once-in-a-lifetime challenge to cycle the world (in bite-sized chunks!)

The adventure is split into 25 tours and you simply commit to one tour at a time.  Most tours comprise 4 days’ cycling and between 70-90 miles in the saddle a day.

It’s not just about the cycling though… it’s about the camaraderie, stunning landscapes, charity and sharing your day’s adventure over a meal and a few drinks in the evening…

What’s more, for every single person who completes one a cycling tour, Ride25 will donate one bike to Africa.

Watch the video to see how Ride25 works.

To find out more or get involved please visit: http://www.ride25.com/




By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Mon, 21/04/2014 - 22:29

Janyis and Chris
"You don’t choose your passions – they choose you."

And it was the combination of the passion for travel and the passion for cycling that chose its unwavering adventurers, Chris Szcerba and Janyis Hyatt. Lovers of the wild and the unexplored, they have been braving paths unknown to mainstream tourists for the past years, with previous trips including the Morocco’s Atlas Mountains in 2009 and a 7,000 km tour over 12 European countries in 2010. 

With their Hase Pino tandem bike, on the 15th October of 2013 they took a ferry from Portsmouth to Santander and started a journey of a whopping 4,000 km from Spain to Gambia.

Hoping to arrive before Christmas, these 50 year-old adventurers made their way along the pilgrim route of the Via de la Plata to Seville, then on to Tarifa on the Spanish southern coast, before crossing over to Morocco and continuing along the coastline to the Western Sahara, Mauritania and Senegal. Fuelled by veggie meals, they passed through places like Rabat, Essaouira, Dakhla, Nouadibhou, Nouakchott, Saint-Louis and finally Banjul, capital of The Gambia. All this while competing with fierce African truck-drivers and helped by forgiving desert winds.

 

WYCE graduates in Gambia with their bicycles supplied by Re~Cycle

Their goal was to reach the town of Medina Salaam, a quiet place 45km away from the buzz of the Gambian capital. There they would help Re~Cycle by training mechanics to refurbish the bicycles shipped from the UK, to later be sold or given away by the local Gambian charity WYCE (Wonder Years Centre of Excellence).In this way they helped achieve the NGOs objective of providing education and healthcare for the village of Medina Salaam, while providing economical transport for people, jobs for mechanics and funding to run the NGO.

We were very impressed by the efforts of two small charities working together to create good things in Africa. We’re here to train mechanics, fix up bikes, get our hands dirty and generally enjoy the experience of a simple and friendly life in Medina Salaam

write the cyclists on their travel blog, The Spoke & Words. "And it’s worked out pretty much as planned. There’s a blue sky canopy over our days, shade under mango trees and on the ground there’s the steady motion of life within the WYCE compound."

In their collaboration with WYCE, they let the gears of creativity work towards the creation of a new type of bike – the first (known) cargo bike of The Gambia! 

The bicycle is an essential transport tool in The Gambia. Cars and vans are too expensive for the vast majority and bicycles are often adapted with wide rear racks to carry loads such as palms and water containers.

explains Chris. Using parts of incomplete bikes, they were able to improve them in strength, length, versatility and, most important of all, safety. “Cargo bikes appear to be appropriate technology in The Gambia” he concludes, stating that the WYCE bike could be used to distribute bread for the new bakery the NGO is starting.

Gambia's first cargo bike
Cargo bike number 1 towing cargo bike number 2. Chris and Janyis gave WYCE the knowledge to continue developing this technology.

Across towns, beaches, mountains and deserts, risking their lives on the roads or off them and fixing and tweaking their bike with the help of locals and fellow travellers, Chris and Janyis finished the final stage of their journey on the “smiling coast of Africa”. In the true spirit of voluntourism, they spent 7 weeks working with the staff of WYCE on a project that can enhance life in Medina Salaam and hopefully even spread to neighbouring towns.

Working on this project gave us a chance to mix our trip between travelling and some level of integration into village life. A nice contrast for us and it added texture and meaning to a great personal experience.

As they very well put it:

This was an adventure. And the bicycle was the vehicle for that adventure.

Thank you Chris and Janyis for your help! 

We look forward to seeing what’s down the road for you yet...

WYCE – www.wyce.org.uk 

The Spoke & Words - https://thespokeandwords.wordpress.com/




By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Wed, 19/03/2014 - 14:54

Take your unwanted bike to any of 470 Halfords stores - 19-24th March

Not only will you get 10% off a BRAND NEW bike, but your old bike will go to a good cause too - going to Africa

Get yourself a new bike, help a charity and save money - pop into your local store or follow the link for more info...

www.halfords.com/re-cycle

Halfords Re-Cycle trade in offer



By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Sat, 08/03/2014 - 12:38

One of Re~Cycle’s key beneficiaries are women, as we recognise that supporting them will help their families and communities.  And that they currently do most of the work, fetch most of the water, earn less of the money and own least of the property…
 

Evelyn Amoah, a woman from Ghana who says “I will use my bike to take crops to the market”. It is 5km from the farm to the town's market, which meets once a week. VBP
Evelyn Amoah says “I will use my bike to take crops to the market”. She is from Offuman, a town in the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana. Evelyn owns a shop and also helps on the family farm. She'll use her new bike to transport crops 5km from the farm to the town's market, which meets once a week. Her daughters are also going to use the bike to get to school.
Asamoah Dorcas, a woman in Ghana who uses her bike to transport goods to market (she used to head load them, which leads to spine damage) and to take her child to school
Asamoah Dorcas uses her bike to transport goods to market (she used to head load them, which leads to spine damage) and to take her child to school.

Both women attended one of the Village Bike Project’s One-Day workshops - bikes from the same shipment as Opoku the cashew farmer.


Another example is our partner BEN Namibia, whose head mechanic trainer is a women, as are over half the staff running their 31 workshops.  




By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Thu, 12/12/2013 - 11:38

Our lovely friends at Action Bikes are running another event

Powered by up to 6 cyclists hooked up to generators, the Indoor Cycling Cinema will take place in St Philip & St James Church in Whitton on Friday 20th December.
 
There will be food and a licenced Bar available on site. Profits from the event are going to Re~Cycle. The charity have so far shipped over 49,636 bikes to Africa, transforming as many lives in  the process. The humble bicycle can make a massive difference when the only other option is to walk.
 
ELF (2003) - Doors 4.00pm / Film starts 4.30pm
 
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET (1947) - Doors 7.00pm / Film starts 7.30pm

Limited tickets available book now to avoid disappointment -  http://www.actionbikes.co.uk/cycling-cinema.html




By: Merlin Matthews

Posted: Fri, 30/08/2013 - 08:48

Re~Cycle are delighted to announce we have a new drop off point in the West Midlands area which will operate until 20 October. Many thanks to Bluebox Self Storage who have kindly provided a 20 foot shipping container to store bikes for free.

Bikes can be dropped off at:

Bluebox Self Storage.co.uk, Unit 14, Station Road, Coleshill, Warwickshire, B46 1HT; between 09.00 and 17.00 Monday to Friday; plus 10.00 to 12.30 on Saturday 21 September and 12 October only. On weekdays ask for Lee Smith.

The collections and transport of the bikes to Colchester is co-ordinated by Michael Groll.

Tel. 01675 467785

Email: michaelgroll67@gmail.com

The collection point is 800m from Coleshill Parkway train station, just north of the Station Road junction with Ennersdale Close.

For more information on Bluebox Self Storage Limited visit:

http://www.blueboxselfstorage.co.uk or phone: 01675 470900.

Many Thanks to Michael Groll and Bluebox Storage for making this drop-off point possible!




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