A bicycle-recycling project is raising funds for a charity for the homeless in Hull. John Beardmore has worked with other Quakers at Bean Street Meeting House, of which he is the Warden. He has used his experience of refurbishing bikes to raise money for the proposed Emmaus Community in Hull. John said:
“I was forever picking up bits of bikes while walking the dog. I’m forever on the look out for them. I am a magnet for them. It’s one of those things I seem to have done most of my life. Each bike can take four to five hours, or sometimes more, but the finished product earns the Emmaus charity shop around fifty pounds. In the ten months the charity shop has been open, they have made over £1000.
“Some bikes come from the police because they are unfit for resale. The good bikes are sold at auction. Nothing is wasted. Two local lads call regularly to relieve John of scrap metal components that cannot be recycled thereby helping the lads and the local economy.
Refurbishing the bikes:
“Parts may be loose. They may need brakes – anything could go wrong with the bikes including worn out parts. It could be a complete refurbishment. You name it, we do it. By the time I part with them they have to comply with safety checks, that I have to sign for, so everything has to be thoroughly checked.
“From an environmental point of view, it saves stuff from going to scrap and it enables us to support the Emmaus project, which deals with people who have found themselves homeless.
“I’ve always had a passion for playing around with bikes. I rebuild them and send them to the Emmaus charity shop. There are two types of bikes: those that are fit for resale and those that have been thrown over hedges or into the river or were ridden to death. These are in a terrible condition.”
Opposite: Emmaus v President Terry Waite opens the Hull shop in 2011.
Emmaus communities offer homeless people a home, work and the chance to rebuild their lives in a supportive environment. There are currently twenty-two communities in the UK and several more in development.
Together Housing reported in January that Emmaus Hull’s housing association partner, Chevin Housing Association Ltd has secured £688,000 of funding under the Homes and Communities Agency’s National Affordable Homes Programme and will also invest a further 1.5m to help build an Emmaus Community in Hull.
It will provide accommodation and work for formerly homeless people and will bring community facilities to the area such as a coffee shop with internet access, a shop selling second-hand donated goods and recycling facilities.
The writer has visited Emmaus communities and – after four years voluntary work with homeless people – found it the only course of action which changed lives for any length of time. One unusual feature is that those who have to leave because of breaking Emmaus’ terms are always welcomed back and given another chance. Read more here.