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At the Ultimate Upcycling Skills Day were Clare Youth Service’s Jean O Keeffe, Garda Inspector David Finnerty, and Mahmoud Yousif Alzoubi.

Teenagers extend bikes’ life cycle in community project

A GROUP of local young people recently completed a Clare Youth Service Upcycling Project in collaboration with the Gardai.

The teens overhauled bikes, first stripping them down and then repairing and enhancing the two wheelers.

“The idea is two-fold,” said Joe Saunders of Clare Youth Service.

“One is in relation to climate change, just not to be discarding good materials. Raw materials from bicycles just go into landfill a lot of the time when they can be upcycled.

“The second thing then is to give some skills to the young people as well, in relation to repair and reuse of materials and then cycling skills and safety, that’s why the Guards were involved, and they generated some of the raw materials and gave some instruction. So it covered a range of objectives.”

His colleague Thomas O’Hara was involved in the first such project in 2017, and in 2021 it got going once more.

“I had another group in 2021 that were taken on do different projects, but they had a look at bikes, they decided to take on these bikes and bring them back up and they really got into the technical side of trying to make them safer, making sure they worked correctly and they looked good.”

He said that there was a lot of enthusiasm shown.

“They worked on them for the last six months and the project gained traction in the community.

“We had young people coming up for different projects who were bringing their bikes up to get fixed.

“It helped build a community of young people that were building bikes, repairing bikes and learning a little bit about how the mechanics of a bike work.

“Then there’s a community element to it, they’re sitting down chatting, talking about various things that are going on for them, they’re trying to work out things with a bike, they’re taking on different bikes, we’d have maybe four or five bikes at any time that are being worked on.

“The Gardai came in and donated a few more bikes to it. We’d have been missing parts, so we were able to incorporate those into what we were working on.”

The project concluded with some learning on cycling safely and a presentation of certificates.

“We have about five or six people working on bikes on a regular basis and they finished off their project with a safety and bike skills course that was run by the Gardai and loosely based on the programme that they go through for four or five weeks.

“Inspector David Finnerty came down and presented some them with certificates for their bike safety and skills course.”

Thomas said that Clare Youth Service are running a project at a local allotment and are really trying to get people into healthy outdoor activities.

“It’s all about skills that can be used in the community and to engage young people in outdoor activities. All of these things that have a positive impact on physical and mental health are very important.”

About Owen Ryan

Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.

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