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Donate your unused bicycles and make a difference

CLARE County Council, in conjunction with Ennis Rotary Club, is bringing the Rotary Ireland School Bikes Africa project to Clare.

The Rotary Ireland School Bikes Africa project, with the support of Clare County Council, gives members of the public across Clare the opportunity to bring their unwanted bicycles to the Central Waste Management Facility at Ballyduff Beg, Inagh. From there, Rotary Ireland will deliver the bicycles to the open prisons at Loughan House, County Cavan, and Shelton Abbey, County Wicklow, where they will be refurbished by prisoners. They are then shipped to Africa and distributed to school children, giving them the chance of a better future. To date, Rotary Ireland has delivered 4,000 bikes and therefore helped 4,000 children to get to school each day, but the work is far from done.

At a launch event for the Rotary Ireland School Bikes Africa project, at the Central Waste Management Facility in Inagh, the Mayor of Clare, Councillor Mary Howard, welcomed the initiative and encouraged people to get involved. “A bicycle can have a transformative impact on the life of a child by enabling them to cycle to school to access education, with all of the benefits that brings,” she said. “I encourage people in Clare who have unused and unwanted bicycles to donate them to this worthy cause. In so doing they can make a real difference to a child’s life.”

Annie Walsh from Ennis Rotary Club said, “Children in Africa often have to travel 10km or more to get to school and back in a day and doing this on foot, in extreme heat, can be difficult at best. We urge you to get involved and help to transform the lives of these children.”

“In providing these children with bikes for school, we are also helping those much closer to home,” Ms Walsh added. “The prisoners at Loughan House and Shelton Abbey are also getting a chance of an education as the School Bikes Africa project allows them to study for a bike mechanic training course, which can help with their rehabilitation back into society and increase their job prospects.”

Maria Carey, Executive Engineer, Environment Section, Clare County Council, said, “Clare County Council is delighted to support this initiative with funding received from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment Anti-Dumping Initiative. Members of the public can bring their bikes for free to the Central Waste Management Facility, Ballyduff Beg, Inagh, County Clare, from August 19, 2020. Bikes must be in reasonable condition. If a new chain, saddle or brake cable is required that is fine but if a bike is buckled or very rusted, then it is not suitable for this scheme.”

Jason Dempsey, Rotary Ireland District International Services Team Lead, described this project as being a “win, win, win”: a win for the climate, given the benefits of “repair and re-use, as well as promoting sustainable transport”; a win for inmates “providing training and rehabilitation”; and a win for children “providing a better chance for education”.

Members of the public can donate their unused and unwanted bicycles at the Central Waste Management Facility in Ballyduff Beg, Inagh. Opening hours are as follows: Tuesday to Friday – 8.30am to 4.30pm; Saturday – 8.30am to 1pm.

About Fiona McGarry

Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald. Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti. She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at NUI Galway. If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at fmcgarry@clarechampion.ie or telephone 065 6864146.

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