A wheely good bike shop run by a team of people with learning disabilities, is busy preparing their stock for sale, before the final festive season rush.
TAG Bikes, a workshop based in Huntingdon Community Centre, is run by an enthusiastic team of learners who carry out servicing and repairs on donated bikes, to re-sell them as brand new.
The programme has stopped over 600 bikes going to landfill sites over the last three years, with 90 per cent of them being put back into the community, and the remaining 10 per cent being stripped down fully for spare parts and recycling. With sales of bikes going well, this gives the team a chance to give bikes away for free to those less fortunate. Each year they help roughly a dozen families with free bicycles and accessories.
The project is a branch of the Cambridgeshire County Council’s Supporting into Work programme, which provides guidance and support to individuals with learning disabilities. By placing learners in an employment environment, the project aims to build their confidence and skills, preparing them for the world of work.
This not-for-profit project has worked with 25 learners since opening, out of which it has so far successfully supported seven learners into a mixture of both paid and voluntary placements.
All learners get the option of a free bicycle with accessories, to encourage independent travel as part of their personal development and to boost confidence levels. So far ten learners have taken up the offer and now travel to work on their bicycle.
TAG Bikes Employment Skills Worker for Cambridgeshire County Council, Robert Bierton said, “The project is going from strength to strength, with something for everyone, and a range of prices.
“I see development, fun, excitement, enthusiasm with all my learners, which fills me full of satisfaction and gives me an easy reason to get out of bed. I like to give back this enjoyment to my learners by hopefully creating a fun, learning and engaging environment.
“I love the fact that this project has fully opened the doors for our community centre, both verbally on the telephone and face-to-face customer engagement in the shop. This has helped the learners with many life development skills.
“All my thanks go to the customers and people that have supported us since we opened.”
TAG Bikes Learner, Nick M said, “I really enjoy working in TAG Bikes because I see all my friends and learn together. TAG Bikes has also helped me become more confident in myself and I now work two days a week at British Heart Foundation.”
If you are looking for a new bike pop down to the workshop and take a look at their selection, they are open Monday to Friday 9am–3:30pm. Equally if you receive a new bike for Christmas, why not spread the festive cheer and donate your old bike to TAG.
To find out more about TAG Bikes visit their Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TagBikesHuntingdonCommunity/
Please note the shop will be closed from Friday 22 December to Tuesday 2 January 2018, after which they will be returning to usual opening times.