Charity gives unclaimed campus bikes new lease of life

More than 300 bicycles abandoned on the University of Leeds campus are being donated to a charity which helps train people in prison to repair them.

The unclaimed bikes were rounded up by campus security over a number of years and have been sitting in storage.

Now they are being saved from the scrapyard thanks to the University’s new partnership with Yorkshire based charity the Margaret Carey Foundation , which currently runs bike repair workshops in the community and in 12 prisons and young offender institutions.

Once refurbished, a proportion of the bikes are donated to those most in need in the UK and overseas.

We’re really pleased to be partnering with the Margaret Carey Foundation, who can put to very good use all the unwanted cycles we round up each year.

Mark Bownass, Head of Campus Security
Asylum seekers and refugees who don't have access to transport in the UK, and people living in rural Zimbabwe, are among those to benefit from recent donations of bikes from the charity.

Unclaimed bicycles collected on the University campus in future will also go to the charity.

Mark Bownass, Head of Campus Security at Leeds, said: "It’s great to think that these unwanted bicycles will be doing some good - from helping people with criminal convictions learn a new skill and gain qualifications, to providing much-needed transport to people in the UK and abroad living in difficult circumstances.

"We’re really pleased to be partnering with the Margaret Carey Foundation, who can put to very good use all the unwanted cycles we round up each year."

As well as the bikes, the University also donated repair and maintenance kits containing chains, tyres, pumps and inner tubes, put together by its Bike Hub co-ordinator Romain Cames.

Sustainability

Each year the Margaret Carey Foundation saves hundreds of bikes from landfill. In 2022, 1081 bikes were repaired, with 583 being donated to beneficiaries. The rest were sold mainly through its shop in Shipley with the proceeds being reinvested back into the charity.

Jon Warrick, Chief Executive Officer at the Margaret Carey Foundation, said: "Our mission is to help people in the criminal justice system find paths out through training opportunities, resources and environments that support rehabilitation.

"To do this we need strong partnerships, so we’re really pleased to add the University of Leeds to our team of much-valued collaborators."