153 days ago

Community Focus Trust - BuyCycles

Mark from Bryndwr

Owning a good quality, a well-maintained bike can transform your life.

Cycling is great for physical health and fitness, contributes to mental wellbeing, enables access to recreational places difficult to get to on foot or bus, offers a fast and efficient transport option and generates a sense of freedom and independence.

However for many people on low incomes, buying a bike can be fraught with difficulties because cheap bikes can be prone to malfunctioning.

To help address this issue Community Focus Trust and Public Health initiated a project whereby people who access Specialist Mental Health Services or Corrections are supported to buy good quality, second-hand bikes.”

The ‘BuyCycles’ project which is a collaboration between Community Focus Trust & Public Health, provides the initial finance to buy a bike which suits the client’s choice, physical needs and price range. The client then pays off their debt, interest free, at a rate that does not cause financial hardship.

This supported purchase model is a novel approach towards alleviating a health disadvantage, in this case a transport disadvantage. Feedback from customers and case managers in the first seven months has been extremely positive.

“They say the bike has also provided them with an enjoyable method to increase their physical activity which has a positive spin-off for their overall health.” Over two-thirds say they use their bike every day, are saving money on other types of transport and their mental wellbeing has improved.

“One customer said riding in Bottle Lake Forest or up the Rapaki track helps his mood.”

Most clients have said it is easy to budget $5 per week and already 13 have completely paid their debt. With a sharp lookout for quality bargains and the small team of volunteer mechanics fine-tuning the purchases for free, the average cost of a bike, helmet and lock has been just over $100.

A few bikes have been donated and these have been restored and on-sold for a fair price which has helped offset the unforeseen expense, for example, when two clients had their BuyCycles bikes stolen the project was able to replace them with no extra debt accrued, she says.

This AMI Community Grant would enable us to continue to purchase not only bikes but helmets and locks, along with repair equipment.

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*winner will be drawn on the 2 Sept 2019