Prisoners restore bikes for charity

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Tongariro Prison, Turangi, New Zealand. PHOTO/FILE
Tongariro Prison, Turangi, New Zealand. PHOTO/FILE

Prisoners have been hard at work in Tongariro Prison's bike barn restoring bikes to donate to charities around the Turangi and Taupo district.

The bikes are stamped with the Tongariro prison logo PiP (made by People in Prison).

This project aims to fix and repurpose old and broken bikes and return them to the community and organisations that would benefit from them.

Corrections staff and agency partners donated bikes and bike parts to the workshop where prisoners strip all the parts off the bikes, sand them back to bare metal, repaint and refurbish as new. The restored bikes are then donated to local charities. The prisoners have also experimented with making scooters from some of the bike parts.

"Knowing that the bikes are being donated to charity gives the team a real sense of achievement in giving back to the community," said assistant prison director Scott Walker.

The bike barn employs up to five prisoners to run and maintain the bike shop.

Tom* has been working in the bike shed for the last seven months and is now looking forward to the next step in his pathway by attending industry training to gain a qualification and further work experience.

Tom said the work was rewarding. "It's great to be able to give back to the community and support the bike barn by working on these bikes."

Research shows that by assisting prisoners to reintegrate into the community, giving them skills and helping them find sustainable work after release, they are less likely to re-offend.

"Working in the bike barn provides the guys with valuable employable skills such as being dependable, time focused, reliable and a good work ethic that we hope they will be able to put to use upon their release," said Mr Walker.

*name has been changed for privacy and to support his rehabilitation.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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