Breaking the cycle of reoffending

An innovative new scheme helping offenders break the cycle of crime and providing free bikes for the community is being launched in the Capital today (30 May).

The first of its kind in Scotland, Brake the Cycle is a new project run by the City of Edinburgh Council's Criminal Justice section.

Offenders on Community Payback Orders are shown how to fix bikes under the supervision of a criminal justice worker at one of four workshops across the city.

The bikes are either old or unwanted and have been donated to the workshops or left at one of the Council's three Community Recycling Centres.

They are then renovated and given away for free to community organisations, youth groups, other deserving organisations and children. Bikes which cannot be fixed will be stripped for parts and scrap metal.

The project received funding from the Scottish Government's Payback Sports Facilities Fund.

Councillor Ricky Henderson, Health and Social Care leader for the City of Edinburgh Council, said: "This scheme is an absolute winner on so many different fronts. Not only are old or unwanted bikes being recycled and put to good use but they are also being distributed for free to deserving organisations and young people.

"It's also a great way of getting offenders involved in giving something back to their communities. Most people on Community Payback orders are young men under 25 many of whom have an interest in bikes and cycling.

""We are giving offenders new skills and confidence by teaching them how to build a bike from scratch. The fact that they are taking part in something they are interested in makes for a more successful outcome."

Nathan Thompson, an offender working on Brake the Cycle, said: "You get a sense of satisfaction knowing the bike is going to someone less fortunate then myself, especially if it is a child. While I knew about bikes before, I am learning new skills from being here."

Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said: "This is a fantastic initiative in Edinburgh which will not only benefit the local community but also help break the cycle of reoffending for the young people involved in the scheme.

"These bikes would have been destined for the scrapheap, but because of this innovative idea and the hard work of offenders they will be put to good use and donated to people in the community who wouldn't have been able to afford them otherwise. We want to see more of this type of work being replicated across Scotland."

Additional information:

Brake the Cycle is just one of several different initiatives run by the Council's Criminal Justice section involving offenders. Other initiatives include restoring gravestones, landscape work, litter picking and furniture restoration.

The four workshops are at Muirhouse Social Work Centre, Units 1 & 2 North Leith Sands, Captain's Road Social Work Centre and Murrayburn Gate Social Work Centre.

Leaflets outlining how people can donate their old and unwanted bikes and how organisations can apply for one of the recycled bikes are being distributed across the city.

Once the project is fully up and running the workshops are expecting to restore around 40 bikes a month.


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