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Over 100 bikes refurbished by women in their rehabilitation have now been donated to a number of different charities thanks to a partnership scheme between Staffordshire Police, Stafford Borough Council and HMP Drake Hall.
A total of 107 stolen bikes recovered by officers from Stafford neighbourhood policing team that could not be identified and returned to their rightful owners were donated to the Halford’s Academy at HMP/YOI Drake Hall where women serving custodial sentences can learn how to repair, refurbish and service the bikes until they are good as new.
The initiative forms part of the prison’s rehabilitation and resettlement programme that enables women serving sentences to develop new skills as bike technicians for Halfords in customer facing roles. Halfords guarantee employment on release for every woman who completes the course.
All of the refurbished bikes were donated to community groups and charities in the Stafford area, including: Marshland special school, Prince’s Trust, Trans-Staffordshire, beavers, cubs and scout groups, a youth working group in Burton-on-Trent, SSAFA, Katharine House hospice and Women’s Aid.
Chief Inspector Gemma Ward, Policing Commander for Stafford borough, said: “This scheme is a great example of turning a negative situation into something really positive for the local community. Such a diverse range of people will benefit from the bikes donated to them.
“The ladies at Drake Hall have worked really hard and having been to visit them, I saw how passionate they were about helping others too.
“Together with Stafford Borough Council we have been able to set up the logistics to make the scheme possible through great partnership work.”
Councillor Jeremy Pert, Cabinet Member for Communities on Stafford Borough Council, said: “The success of this scheme has been in linking up all parties to ensure that everyone in the chain had a long term benefit from being involved, whether it be the women at HMP Drake Hall through gaining greater skills and confidence through to the voluntary sector in Stafford who have seen the benefit of over one hundred fully refurbished bicycles.
“It has been a perfect demonstration that new partnerships, new ways of working and new conversations need to be had for the benefit of everyone in our community, if we want to maximise the opportunities that exist. Personally, I would like to congratulate everyone involved in what has been just such a scheme as it has benefitted many in the local area.”