Media Release

Building Bikes, Building Relationships

Young people in East Gippsland are building their confidence and important community connections through an innovative program that teaches youth how to upcycle old and disused bicycles.

The Take2Cycles program, an initiative of Workways Australia through their Gippsland East Mentoring (GEM) program, provides participants with the training and skills to strip down, repair and rejuvenate old bicycles.

Participants are required to restore two bicycles; keeping one for themselves and donating the second one to a person or community group in need.

Facilitator, Jeremy Kilby said that while the program is teaching technical skills, its focus is on building confidence and independence in participants. “There is an immense satisfaction for our participants, in seeing their hard work come to fruition.

“I think though that for most of them, the most satisfying part is being able to give a bicycle to someone in need, and to play a role in community strengthening.” added Jeremy.

Ashley Lapham recently completed the eight week program and was pleased to hand his completed bike to Eagle Point resident, Mark McDougal. Mark was nominated by Beth Campbell, Manager of the Paynesville Uniting Care Friendship Shed as a recipient after his bicycle was stolen. Mark relies on his bicycle as his primary form of transport.

“We’ve had an amazing response from the community both in terms of donations to the Take2Cycle program, and as mentors for our participants.” said Bryan McCormick, CEO of Workways Australia.

“We are continuing to seek mentors for the next session, and encourage anyone who wants to get involved to give us a call.

“Mentors don’t need to have any special mechanical skills, but must have an interest in supporting and mentoring young people in our community. We’ll provide the training and technical skills so you can learn alongside them.” said Bryan.

The Take2Cycle program is run out of a dedicated shed in Rovan Place, Bairnsdale and attracts GEM participants from schools across East Gippsland including Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance, Orbost and Swifts Creek.