From scrapheap to upkeep: Brixton bikes come out of re-tyre-ment thanks to £10,000 upcycling project

Discarded steel can be transformed into a set of wheels as a Brixton-based cooperative has been awarded a £10,000 grant and will use it to help residents build and repair bikes.

Remakery is one of 31 London community-focused organisations to receive a cycling grant from TfL and Groundwork London in 2015.

Remakery is a cooperative workshop space where materials are collected or donated, and made available to Remakers to turn them into new products by recycling and upcycling them.

“Our raison-d’être is to challenge waste and to renew it,” said Andy Lockwood, who helps with the sourcing of the materials used at Remakery.

“We get the discarded bikes from a variety of sources, the police, the council, parks, and the Westway Community Trust.

“The idea is to use the money to deliver cycle training and maintenance courses in which participants will fix the bikes that we have salvaged.”

In the first year of receipt of the £10,000 grant Remakery will source and teach trainers, stock their workshop with tools, and acquire some fundamental parts for the bikes which are unlikely to be donated or scavenged.

Then in the second and third years they will select people who have completed the course to become trainers themselves, which factors into the sustainability of Remakery as a whole.

The ethos of recycling and upcycling is central to all of Remakery’s projects, including their bike training and maintenance programme, which will begin in June 2016.

“What I like most is the ability to train people to carry on in the job or in the community,” said Mr Lockwood.

“The Remakery has aspirations to outreach into the community and become embedded within it, and I believe this will be one of the key programmes that will underpin this.”

The programme will be aimed at NEETs (people Not in Education, Employment, or Training) from Brixton and surrounding areas, including the Angell Town estate which is located near the workshop.

For participants to qualify for the programme they will first have to complete the four-week cycling training offered by Remakery.

Once complete, they will have the opportunity to fix and build their own bikes from the discarded parts that have been collected or donated to the centre.

Mr Lockwood said: “We pitch ourselves as an organisation which has a message to reduce wastefulness and this particular project fits in with our view.”

Picture courtesy of Beverley Goodwin, with thanks

Related Articles