Helping reverse the cycle

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Youngsters learned how to repair bicycles in a community project aimed at reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.

Around 20 young people took part in the Crib Project at Broad Lane Business Centre in South Elmsall.

It was organised by not-for-profit organisation Reverse the Cycle, which secured £6,000 from the West Yorkshire Police Safer Communities fund to run the six-week programme.

Project manager Lee Farmer said: “On the Build a Bike programme we rebuild bikes that have been donated to us that would otherwise be taken to the tip.

“The young people sand them down, completely repair them and get to keep the bike at the end of it.”

Youngsters aged between eight and 18 took part in the project at the centre on Westfield Lane.

They were nominated to take part in the Crib Project by youth clubs in the South Elsmall, South Kirkby and Upton areas.

Mr Farmer said: “This is a high area for anti-social behaviour.

“Not all these young people are involved in anti-social behaviour but this gives them something to take a pride in.

“It’s a prevention rather than a cure.

“It has been really successful. The young people absolutely love it.

“They learn new skills and they get to make new friends they never would have met before.”

Pictures were posted on the Reverse the Cycle Facebook page weekly to give parents and guardians an understanding of what the young people did, Mr Farmer said.

He added: “We also get to hear from the young people about their concerns and what issues they think there are in the community.

“It gives them a voice through us.”

Reverse the Cycle was also running bike projects to help people with substance misuse problems around the district.

Reverse the Cycle is a not-for-profit organisation which works with people aged between eight and 25.

It aims to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour by involving young people in bicycle related activities.

On the Build A Bike project young people strip down the frame, redesign and rebuild the bikes and replace old parts.

At the end of the programme they get to keep their new customised bike.

Youngsters can gain accredited qualifications in bike maintenance no the programme.

The Build a Bike programme consists of 90-minute bike maintenance sessions over around six weeks.

Old bicycles are recovered from tips or donated to the project by community groups and members of the public.

At the end of the programme bikes are given a full MOT to make sure they are roadworthy.

To find out more about Reverse the Cycle, log on to www.reversethecycle.org.uk