An Mheitheal Rothar, Galway’s community bike workshop at NUI Galway, has celebrated two big wins in a matter of weeks.
An Mheitheal Rothar’s Recycle Your Cycle initiative involves taking bikes sent for scrap to council waste depots and fixing them up for sale. After a tough pitching competition in Dublin in November, ReCycle Your Cycle won the top award for the West region from Social Entrepreneurs Ireland, a prize of €5,000 funded by the Lifes2Good Foundation.
And last week the social-sustainable enterprise was awarded €15,000 from the Small Capital Grants Scheme for Social Enterprise. The Small Capital Grants Scheme for Social Enterprises received approximately 1,100 applications from all around the country, and 230 organisations were funded in 2 stages. The recognition, support and funding see An Mheitheal Rothar start 2020 in a strong position as one of the up and coming social-sustainable enterprises in the West of Ireland.
Paul O’Donnell, the workshop’s Lead Coordinator, said: “This is the circular economy in action. When a bike is scrapped, it’s a piece of metal with a value of a few cents. Even though the metal will be recycled it will be shipped overseas and goes through a carbon intensive recycling process. ReCycle Your Cycle extends the life of bikes, reducing carbon emissions, and provides affordable bikes with real value for people. Not only do we create bikes that people want to buy, but in the process we provide training and work experience in bicycle mechanics for people who were long term unemployed.”
“When you buy a bike from ReCycle Your Cycle, it’s around half the cost of a new one, but you also have the satisfaction of knowing your money supports our community work, from training unemployed people to teaching everyone how to fix their own bikes at our free DIY workshops. You’ve also saved the carbon emissions of manufacturing a new bike, and helped to keep jobs here in the west of Ireland. In the medium to long run we also see what we do as contributing part of the solution to the congestion by encouraging and supporting a culture of cycling in Galway. It’s a win for everyone.”
The money from both awards will go towards fitting out An Mheitheal Rothar’s new shop at NUI Galway and expanding the workshop’s operations, allowing it to salvage more bikes, provide more training and community outreach, and grow the circular economy in Galway.