Eighty-seven bicycles restored by young prisoners have raised more than £6,300 for South Bucks Hospice over the past four months.
Ten men at HM Young Offenders’s Institute in Aylesbury work five days a week fixing up old cycles which are then sent to hospice shops for resale.
The prisoners, who are instructed by a specialist officer, learn various skills and techniques which they hope will help them find jobs when they are released.
Hospice chief executive officer, Jo Woolf, spoke to some of the prisoners during a recent visit.
Michael, 19, who has been involved in the scheme for around three months, said: “It keeps me out of the cell. It keeps me active. I have learnt a lot since I have been here, and it feels good to be helping the charity.”
He added he would probably try to continue this type of work on the outside if he could continue to learn more and develop new skills.
“We are giving them back a lot of bikes and they tell us they have sold a lot of them – it’s a good feeling.”
The prisoners repair about 15 bicycles a week which are take to re-use shops at the Household Waste Recycling Centres at High Heavens in High Wycombe or Aston Clinton.
Easter was a peak time for sales when 29 bikes were sold to the public, raising £2,238 in that period alone.
Philip Abayateye, the instructional officer, said: “The bicycles are brought in for the charity and we look at the condition to see if they are fixable or not. We recondition those that are suitable and make sure they are fit for purpose. There are quality and safety checks made before they go out.”
The old bicycles are donated by the public and Thames Valley Police from lost property.
Mrs Woolf said: “Whenever I visit the workshop, I am so impressed with the commitment given by everyone involved in this project. I am heartened to see how this scheme not only benefits our patients but also helps the young prisoners in this way.”
South Bucks Hospice is appealing for unwanted bikes to be donated to the hospice’s reuse sites in Aston Clinton and High Wycombe. The refurbished bikes are then sold to go towards supporting people with life limiting illnesses. Biks can be donated at the centres, or by calling 01296 632766.