Published: Thursday, 14th December 2017

Oldham Council is teaming up with Positive Steps to create a community bike hub within Tommyfield Market.

The new facility will help provide a boost for residents of all ages – including jobseekers and young people looking to get their lives back on track.

For the last 18-months Positive Steps has been operating a social community bike project – ‘Positive Cycles’ – from The Skillzone in their headquarters on Union Street.

As part of Positive Steps’ role in the Oldham Youth Justice Service, volunteers and staff recycle, service, and make bikes roadworthy before selling them back to the community at a discounted price.

Bikes are also donated to students accessing Positive Steps Career Guidance Service, so they can travel to and from college/training.

Positive Cycles also works closely with Oldham Council service users and Transport for Greater Manchester  (TfGM), providing ‘wheels’ to jobseekers as part of the “Bike Back to Work” scheme, while also partnering with them for the national “Women On Wheels (WOW)” event.

A number of residents have also already undertaken an AQA Bike Maintenance course.

Now thanks to the success of the project Positive Cycles is moving to 4/5 Albion Street (formerly Heron Foods) giving them a more prominent presence in the town centre.

The move to bigger premises, which will be staffed by Positive Steps staff and volunteers, will allow the organisation to take in more bikes for refurbishment and re-cycling.

They will also be able to operate a bike hire service for local residents and the business community and establish a community hub and meeting point which local cycling clubs can use.

Oldham Council Leader, Jean Stretton, said: “We are delighted to be teaming up with Positive Steps on such a progressive scheme, which will also occupy a currently empty unit – a good interim use of space before our proposed redevelopment of the town centre.

“Since it was set up more than a year ago Positive Cycles has helped out residents from different backgrounds and this move to Albion Street will help them reach even more residents.

“The scheme’s work with council service users, jobseekers and young offenders, for example, is helping people progress with their lives, plus there are the added benefits for the environment and helping people to get more active.”

Rina Dabhi, Director of Family Services at Positive Steps, said: “Positive Cycles started from a very small project in 2015. We are extremely excited that two years later we are expanding the project to a shop unit on Tommyfield Market.

“We all want the project to be about much more than just cycling and getting fit. The shop will offer community outreach, courses, bike hire, training in maintenance and support for wider health and wellbeing issues.

“Positive Cycles will not only encourage safe cycling for all ages and incomes, but will create a number of volunteering, training and employment opportunities.”

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