Letterkenny Rotary Club’s School Bikes Africa Collection

Last week Letterkenny Rotary Club organised a collection of bikes as part of their annual School Bikes Africa appeal in conjunction with Donegal County Council and Bryson Recycling.

A total of 95 bikes were collected from Milford Recycling Centre for transport to Loughan House, Co. Cavan by Hegarty Transport, where they will be refurbished before being shipped to The Gambia. Rotary Ireland has for over 6 years collected bikes and sent them to schools in Africa. In the intervening years over 5000 bikes have been collected by Rotary Clubs across Ireland with the Irish Prison Service at Loughan House involved from the start.

As always, bicycles suitable for refurbishing should be strong and sturdy, mountain bike style, have minimum 24” wheel size and mountain bike type tyres. Racer style bikes are not sought as part of this collection. Suitable bikes can be dropped off at any of the Council’s six Recycling Centres (Laghey, Dungloe, Carndonagh, Stranorlar, Letterkenny & Milford).  Please check your local centre for opening hours, visit www.donegalcoco.ie or www.brysonrecycling.org.

‘Collection of the bikes has been made much easier thanks to Bryson Recycling making their six sites available to us. That extra storage capacity and Transport to Loughan house by Hegarty Transport have been critical to the continued success of the School Bikes Africa campaign’ says Robert O’Connor President of Letterkenny Rotary Club. Donegal is one of fifteen counties involved in this national appeal throughout Ireland.

Rotary Ireland has expanded its commitment to collecting, refurbishing and delivering unwanted bikes to school children in Africa giving them the chance of a better life and open up many more opportunities.   As many must travel long distances to and from school, often in searing temperatures and doing this on foot can be difficult at best, so having a bike can make a huge change for the pupil and family alike as it can be utilised in other ways to help out their communities.

While providing these children with bikes for school, Rotary are also helping those much closer to home, namely the prisoners at Loughan House Open Centre Co. Cavan who are also getting the chance of furthering their own education.   Their participation in this project allows them to study for a City & Guilds FETAC Bike Mechanics course which ultimately will help with their own rehabilitation into society and perhaps aid their job prospects in the long term, as well as the satisfaction of working on such a worthwhile charitable project.

Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council, Cllr Martin Harley added “It’s great to see another collection of bikes for the School Bikes Africa appeal. Rotary Ireland have made this such a positive campaign and Donegal County Council are delighted to play a part. We are also very pleased that the collection of suitable bikes can take place all year round at the six Recycling Centres here in Donegal”.

Donations are sought of the following types of suitable bicycles;

  • strong sturdy bikes that can withstand rough terrain,
  • bikes to suit both primary and secondary level students, with a minimum of 24” wheel size,
  • in reasonable repair,
  • and having mountain bike type tyres. 
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