The people of Swindon have been doing their bit to help support the people of Ukraine through the Swindon Welcomes Ukraine project.
The project helps new arrivals from Ukraine find community and fulfilment in the local area. Within this project a ‘Bikes for Ukraine’ scheme was set up reflecting the requests of new arrivals wanting to find their way around and reach local services in a cheap and accessible way.
Providing refurbished bikes to new residents of Swindon has been a long-established programme for the Harbour Project, the Swindon-based charity which has long supported asylum seekers and refugees to rebuild their lives in the town.
After sending out a plea to the Swindon community, the Bikes for Ukraine scheme has received 35 offers of bikes. Local businesses such as Run and Repair, Recycles (social enterprise) and Swindon Cycles have been busy volunteering their time to safety check and fix 13 donated bikes to date.
Over the last couple of weeks local volunteers from Swindon Welcomes Ukraine have passed on 12 pre-loved bikes to new residents from Ukraine who have very happily received a bike along with accessories such as locks, helmets and a Swindon cycle map.
My mini co-pilot and I enjoyed showing Sofiia (Chair of Swindon Welcomes Ukraine), her mother and her sister the beautiful traffic-free route from the Orbital Shopping Centre to Lydiard Park at the weekend. They hadn’t cycled for years but were so keen to practice and to improve their confidence and skills.
There’s still plenty more to do. So far, 48 loving homes are awaiting a refurbished bike, a shortfall of 13 bikes at present, and there will almost certainly be more requests over the coming weeks and months.
So, if you’d like to find out more about this great project or if you have a pre-loved bike in good condition that you’d like to donate please go to: Bikes for Ukraine — Swindon Welcomes Ukraine (ukraineswindon.com)