New home for hundreds of bikes abandoned on campus

More than 300 bicycles have been donated to charity after being rounded up by the security team, with those in need in the UK and abroad set to benefit.

Head of Security Mark Bownass, Facilities Assistant Steven Wall with the Margaret Carey Foundation’s Suzanne Bristow and Jon Warrick

Mark Bownass, Steven Wall, Suzanne Bristow and Jon Warrick, all holding bicycles, in front of one of the charity's vans, outside the Great Hall on campus

With many bikes having been left unclaimed during the first COVID-19 lockdown, a plan was created to save them from the scrapyard. 

The University has now partnered with Yorkshire-based charity the Margaret Carey Foundation, which runs bike repair workshops for the Yorkshire community, as well as in 10 prisons and two young offender institutions. 

Previously, the bikes had been kept in storage after being collected from around campus. The security team keep track of which bikes have not been collected, with those abandoned for some time being removed.  

From now on, all unclaimed bikes will be donated to the charity.  

As well as the bikes, the University also donated repair and maintenance kits containing chains, tyres, pumps and inner tubes, put together by Bike Hub co-ordinator Romain Cames. 

Once refurbished, a proportion of the bikes will be donated to those most in need in the UK and overseas, with the rest sold at the charity’s shop in Shipley with the money reinvested into the organisation. 

Mark Bownass, Head of Campus Security at the University of Leeds, said: “It’s great to think that these unwanted bicycles will be doing some good – from helping people with criminal convictions learn a new skill and gain qualifications, to providing much-needed transport to people in the UK and abroad living in difficult circumstances. 

“We’re really pleased to be partnering with the Margaret Carey Foundation, who  put to very good use all the unwanted cycles we round up each year.” 

Asylum seekers and refugees in the UK who live in transport poverty – where they cannot easily access or afford transport to make necessary journeys – and people living in rural Zimbabwe are among those to benefit from recent donations by the Margaret Carey Foundation. 

In 2022, the Foundation repaired 1,081 bikes, with 583 being donated to beneficiaries. 

Jon Warrick, Chief Executive Officer at the Margaret Carey Foundation, said: “Our mission is to help people in the criminal justice system find paths out through training opportunities, resources and environments that support rehabilitation. To do this we need strong partnerships, so we’re really pleased to add the University of Leeds to our team of much-valued collaborators.”

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