As part of our mission to use bikes as a tool for helping people who need a helping hand, Good Cycles has been running weekly classes in bicycle repair and maintenance at Hanover in South Melbourne. Participants are given a bike to work on and if they attend three or more workshops, they’re able to keep a bike and use it as their own transport.
Hanover is a leading Melbourne based community agency. They provide a range of services to Victorians experiencing housing crisis or homelessness.
As a way to engage people, and to provide them with a free bike and the skills to maintain their own mode of sustainable transport, Good Cycles’ super star operations manager, Ben Mundy, has been successfully running this program for the last few months, with great results.
“At the sessions at Hanover I try to help the participants to gain a better knowledge of bike mechanics and give them the confidence to fix their own bikes and the bikes of others,” says Ben.
Monica Kurkiewicz, Wellbeing Officer at Hanover, says that the majority of the people participating in the bike maintenance program are men aged from their mid 20’s to late 50’s.
“They are homeless for a range of reasons,” says Monica. “Including family breakdown, financial crisis, mental health breakdown, and drug and alcohol issues.
Monica says that programs like these are important to Hanover because they not only teach useful skills, they encourage effective communication, co operation, team building and problem solving. They include many group-based principles like listening and following instructions and are done in a non-threatening informal environment. Hanover residents often have not had positive experiences of education so it is refreshing for them to be treated as adults and have their own skills and knowledge validated.
“Since Ben has been running this program, I’ve noticed growth in participant numbers,” says Monica. “Ben has a calm and gentle way with the residents, encouraging people to get involved or just to watch what is going on. If we continue to have these great numbers, I can see the potential for expanding it.”
Currently this program is not funded, instead relying on Good Cycles to donate its time to the cause. We are currently seeking support to continue this important work and to see it grow.
“It’s great to see the guys enjoying themselves and learning about something they can enjoy in future,” says Ben. “We hope we can keep turning up each week and helping all we can.”
Please contact Good Cycles for more info on this program and others at firstname.lastname@example.org