Before we think about youth employment, apprenticeships or education, we have to first find out where a young person is, where they want to go and what’s going to get them there.
We do this using bicycles.
BikeRescue is a ten session earn-a-bike program. Young people work alongside mechanics to fully restore two old bicycles in a mentored workshop environment. One bike is donated to a local charity as a way for participants to ‘earn’ the second for themselves.
The program is designed to reach out to disengaged young people. We work with partner organisations to reconnect participants to education and employment opportunities. It’s about boosting self-esteem, building tangible skills and connecting them to a positive future.
Not every young person fits the mainstream services. We provide a unique opportunity for participants to connect with peers, mentors, their local community and their future. Young people, particularly vulnerable youth, need positive and meaningful social activities that allow their position as ‘being young’ to be valued by their local community.
A bicycle is the perfect medium to engage with young people in a positive and meaningful way. It’s simple, logical, but requires the time and skill of a savvy person to get it running right. Every participant graduates with a developed knowledge of bike mechanics, it’s a skill they’ll take with them for the rest of their lives.
We believe that riding a bike is an essential part of a young person’s growth. A bicycle is someone’s transport, recreation, social connection, identity, and so much more. By connecting youth to bikes and bicycle culture, we are planting a seed for long-term positive habits.
On the surface, BikeRescue is all about bike mechanics. But underneath, we’re developing powerful mentor relationships with participants. We can’t predetermine what challenges each young person is facing in their lives. So we work with them, over ten weeks, to discover a better future and set them on the path towards it.
BikeRescue is collaborative, not competitive. We deliver projects alongside other organisations to develop strong partnership delivery structures. Rather than reinventing the wheel and trying to do everything ourselves, we partner with leaders in the youth sector.