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Bristol Charity Advent Calendar 2019, day 6: Life Cycle UK

By ellie pipe, Thursday Dec 5, 2019

A project that helps prisoners to rebuild their lives and gain a qualification is seeking to expand its transformative work.

Life Cycle UK takes donations of broken and unwanted bikes to a secure workshop within HMP Bristol, where the charity’s Bikes Behind Bars workshops teach men the skills to completely refurbish them in a bid to boost confidence and employability and reduce re-offending.

Speaking about the impact of the project, Marcus* said: “I wanted to come on this course to get a certificate and some self-belief. I’ve got two children under five so it seemed worth doing for me.

“The teaching was excellent. It has helped me get the confidence to find other work when I get out.”

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Life Cycle UK, a Bristol-based charity that transforms lives through cycling, has launched a Crowdfunder campaign to enable the project to help more men. It is moving into a bigger workshop within the prison and will use the funds to buy more tools, equipment and bike parts.

According to statistics from the Prison Reform Trust, 97 per cent of prisoners want to stop offending, but the prison environment can set them up to fail, with levels of ‘purposeful activity’ at an all-time low and poor mental health and suicides on the increase.

Life Cycle’s approach hopes to give the men the support they need to turn their lives around.

The workshops seek to help prisoners rebuild confidence and gain a qualification

Abiir Shirdoon is a Life Cycle UK instructor who teaches children and adults in Bristol’s communities

The charity also teaches cycling skills and confidence to more than 2,000 children and adults each year. Its award-winning inclusive cycling projects help people with disabilities, mental illness, offenders, disadvantaged children and isolated older people to feel happier, healthier, and more connected to the local community.

Find out more and support the campaign via www.crowdfunder.co.uk/bike-shop-behind-bars.

*Not his real name

Read more: ‘My goal would be to get as many people cycling as possible’

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