April Newsletter: Stolen Bikes Appeal

Dear friend,

I hope you and your family are all safe and well.

Last weekend I was running our foodbank in Broadwater Farm Estate, Tottenham and found our bike and tool store had been burgled. At least seven bikes and our most valuable tools were taken. Here is the full story.

Our fantastic bike mechanic, instructor and youth worker Stefan, said at the time that if he could meet the people who did this, he’d tell them,  “That was really not cool guys. Seriously, not cool.”

The theft has completely knocked us for six. As a small charity, it couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Over the past few months, the bikes had all been lovingly restored by the brilliant young people as part of Your Bike Project and we were intending to loan them to local young people, key workers and volunteers during lockdown.

Our work will continue and there are a few ways you can help us:

  1. Donate to our fundraiser to replace the stolen tools

  2. Visit wheelytots.com and book in a remote consultationbuy or borrow a balance bike or kids bike, allow us to come and service your bike or donate an unused bike to us

  3. Follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagramLinkedIn

  4. Support us when you shop online via Give As You Live or send e-cards to friends and family

  5. Ask your friends to join our mailing list

Thank you for reading this message. If you have any other thoughts or ideas please let me know.

Kind regards

David
CEO
Wheely Tots

Cargo bike food delivery

 

Stefan who runs yourbikeproject.uk which has now turned into a Saturday foodbank was helping the local community by delivering boxes of food to local families on the Haringey – Hackney border

Just before the video was taken Stefan was asked what he was doing by a passer by who had a 94 year old mum living on her own, we took her details and passed on to the community leaders who will add 1 more to their list

Being so visible and a relatively unusual sight brought many smiles of puzzlement and amazement and its nice to be asked to help out

Outputs

  • 11 large boxes of food delivered by 2 short cargo bike trips
  • 4 miles travelled 1.6 kg of C02 avoided
  • Approx 10 mins per delivery
  • 67 smiles (ok we guessed at that one…..)
  • 11 thank you’s including one emailed in

“Thank you to all of you for making this happen. The first but surely not the only thank you” – local resident

Outcomes 

  • a positive and visible sense of community connectedness
  • a positive sense of health and wellbeing (physical and mental) for Stefan who got some exercise!
  • the opportunity to train local volunteers to use the cargo bike or offer as part of the local community service in the future –
  • an opportunity to showcase do things positively and more sustainably

Bikes for youth project stolen: appeal for information and support

On Saturday, we discovered that at least seven of our adult-sized bikes (pictured above and below) and valuable tools were stolen from our storage space on Broadwater Farm.

The bikes and tools are kit for Your Bike Project, our youth-led initiative where we work with 11 to 18 year-olds on Broadwater Farm and Northumberland Park estates. We were also loaning the bikes to NHS and key workers during lockdown.

While Saturday sessions for Your Bike Project are suspended during lockdown, we’re still distributing food from The Felix Project to residents each week, which is when we discovered the theft.

“We went to do our food bank on Saturday,” explains David. “We had two volunteers, Jacob and Barbara, who were keen to help out and were full of the joys of spring.

“I thought I’d show the volunteers the bike store in the drying room. When we got up there, I couldn’t believe it. The door had been smashed in. Our tools were all over the place; all the good ones had been taken, as well as all the adult-sized bikes.

“On the plus side, all the kids’ bikes were still there.”

After reporting the theft to the police, David managed to secure some alternative storage space for the remaining bikes and tools. The volunteers also stayed around to help and support David and Stefan, Wheely Tots session leader, in the aftermath. 

“Whoever took them, we hope their need is greater than ours. I suspect it was,” says David. “We felt in normal times this wouldn’t have happened because there’s a building concierge there all the time, albeit there are some dead times.”

Despite the difficult start to the day, the food bank went ahead, and David, Stefan and volunteers distributed food to residents. We’ve been really encouraged by the response to the food bank, including the support from estate residents and support to spread the word and help their neighbours. We’re hoping to expand it in the coming weeks to include extra items that vulnerable residents need. 

Unfortunately, the theft means we’re sadly unable to provide bikes for key workers at the moment. We hope to build up our bank of bikes and recover some of the stolen ones so we can resume this scheme.

If you have any information, please contact info@wheelytots.com 

To support our Coronavirus emergency appeal, click here. If you have an unused bike you’d like to donate, click here

Making connections: Easter Saturday on Broadwater Farm Estate

Just before 10:30am on a glorious Saturday morning, we arrive on Broadwater Farm Estate to meet workers from The Felix Project, who pull up in a van. The Felix Project collects food from supermarkets and suppliers that cannot be sold and distributes it across the capital, ensuring it reaches those who need it most. 

We’ve been working on the estate since last summer. Normally the food we collect would be offered out alongside drop-in bike sessions with young people as part of our youth-led initiative, Your Bike Project. Since lockdown began, we’ve suspended all of our usual group activities. However, we’re continuing to coordinate the weekly food deliveries on Broadwater Farm to support efforts to help the most vulnerable. 

The food arrives in crates. This week, offerings include fresh fruit, yoghurt, healthy ready meals, bread and spring onions. We lay out the crates two metres apart, pulling the freshest produce into the shade, so that people can browse at a safe distance and collect what they want.

Despite the beautiful weather, the estate is quiet. Over the course of the morning, we meet a steady stream of estate residents and staff. Some are passerbys; others have collected food on previous Saturdays and have come especially. People take food for themselves and also their friends and neighbours. They are polite and kind to us and each other, observing social distancing. Through our chats, we deepen our knowledge of the estate; who might need help and who wants to offer it.

Security staff come in clusters, cheerful and friendly. We find out that they’re not local; one woman, who took food for herself and her neighbour, travels in from Barking. 

We speak at length with one of the estate’s street cleaners who’s been working on Broadwater Farm for 17 years. Originally from Lancashire, we find out that he’s deeply committed to the people who live on the estate. He shares his experience of the lockdown, explaining he knows some of the most vulnerable residents. He hopes that some positives will come out of the situation and offers to help in any way he can. 

We also meet a resident, full of warm energy, who we discover is part of the Broadwater Farm fabric. She’s a part-time carer and volunteers for the church of reconciliation and a migrant support charity. She expresses an interest in helping us in future weeks. I have time, she tells us with a big smile.

Eventually, the food is almost all collected and we pack up. We’ll be back next Saturday and the ones after that where we hope to work with residents and staff to reach those who most need help.

Find out what we’re up to during lockdown and support our Coronavirus Appeal.

Wheely Tots Newsletter 10 April 2020




 


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Happy Easter 

It’s Easter this weekend. While we won’t be able to visit our friends and family, you can still let your loved ones know you’re thinking about them by sending an e-card.

You can send cards with Don’t Send Me A Card and support Wheely Tots by donating the cost of the cards and stamps through the website. You can even add Gift Aid to your donation. Click here to see our cards.

Why not try out some of our five ways to adventure at home this weekend? 

Please consider donating to our Coronavirus Emergency Appeal

Take care and stay well,
The Wheely Tots Team 

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What we’ve been up to

While we’ve paused our regular sessions, we’re working hard to safely provide bikes to families, neighbours and key workers during the coronavirus lockdown.

Now more than ever, cycling is an important way to deliver food and essentials to neighbours, as well as helping us feel mentally and physically better with much-needed exercise. 

Stefan, session leader and bike mechanic, has been out and about on one of the Wheely Tots cargo bikes today, helping people to keep moving on two wheels.

First stop, he delivered two balance bikes to Paulsha’s home. Paulsha’s borrowed the bikes from our kit library for her twin daughters to ride around on over the lockdown period. 

On Broadwater Farm Estate, we loaned two bikes to a Your Bike Project participant and his father. The participant has been regularly attending our Saturday afternoon sessions for young people, led by Stefan, since they started in February. During that time he’s brought his friends along to the project, fixed bikes and helped out where he can.  Though we’ve had to pause Your Bike Project sessions for now, we have an online offer ready to go.

Gloria, a Wheely Tots Trustee and manager of the awesome Redmond Community Centre in Woodberry Down, let us know she had a puncture. Stefan cycled over and helped her to fix it. She’s chuffed that she can keep exercising on her bike – and has also learnt a new skill. 

During the first week of the lockdown, we delivered five balance bikes to people’s homes, coordinated two large food deliveries from the Felix Project to residents in Broadwater Farm Estate, completed four doorstep bike repairs (including three for key workers) and provided remote guidance and advice to eleven families.  

Read more about our response to COVID-19 and our adapted offer. 

Support our Givey campaign.

Five ways to adventure at home

We’ve taken a few elements from our balance bike sessions and distilled them here for you to do with your family at, or near, your home. Bikes are optional. Have fun!

Things you might need:

  • Chalk
  • Paper
  • Pencils or pens
  • A cardboard box

Getting ready

  • If you have one, do a safety check on your balance bike. Here’s a video to help you
  • Warm up like an airplane – arms outstretched and zooming around

Moving: 

  • Stamp like an elephant, one foot at a time. You can do this sitting on a bike or cardboard box.
  • Draw around each foot, or both feet, or make a wiggly line. Jump in, out of and around the shapes. If you have access to an outdoor space, you could draw these shapes with chalk on a path or patio. If you’re indoors, you could use a skipping rope 

Singing:

  • The Wheels on the Bike is, of course, our favourite. The wheels tend to go round and round.  Children, siblings, mummies and daddies might pedal, push, whizz or scoot. Substitute with names and other adult figures in your household

Exploring

  • Go on a treasure hunt in your home or garden to find different objects. For example something red, yellow or blue. Or look for objects which are different shapes
  • Play peekaboo

Making: 

  • Do some mark making. You could chalk on pavement, a path or patio, or use felt tips / pencils on paper
  • Draw a bike. Here’s a video to help you. If you have a cardboard box, draw a bike on the side and, voila, you have imaginary wheels for your child to sit on
  • Create a rainbow display for your window

If you’ve enjoyed our suggestions and want to help Wheely Tots, you can support our Givey campaign.

You just can’t make this stuff up…..!

Late last night I received a “no caller ID” calling so I ignored it, bound to be some sales type call….

“No Caller ID” called again….so I thought these people are persistent and ignored it again

Third Time – Answered the call.  It was the Police saying they had found our bike!!!!!

Totally amazed, in shock (in a good way this time) and when we get it back we can start to use the trailer along with the cargo bikes to do our bit to help with delivering food  and other basic necessities to people who need them

Huge thanks go out to everyone who circulated the stolen bike images, and to all those who helped in other ways!

 

Wheely Tots & COVID-19

This page was last updated 30/03/20

As of 23rd March, we’ve cancelled all of our weekly toddler sessions until further notice, and won’t be running our Easter sessions in Lordship Rec. We’ve also cancelled our Saturday and Easter sessions for Your Bike Project.

We’re following UK government advice and NHS guidance around COVID-19. The safety and wellbeing of our wider community, session leaders and admin team are our biggest priority.  

We recognise the huge benefits of physical activity and being outdoors on our overall health, particularly at the moment. We’ve been adapting our offer so that we can continue to support families to access cycling safely. 

As a grassroots charity with five years’ worth of strong connections across our local community, we’re committed to  helping those most in need during this extremely difficult period. 

During the lockdown period, here’s what we’re offering:

Online consultations

Book a twenty-minute online consultation with one of our expert bike mechanics or cycle instructors. We can help on anything from sourcing parts and tools, diagnosing mechanical issues, route planning, choosing the right bike, and any other cycle-related quandary. Free to NHS / key workers. 

Kit Library home deliveries

We’re doing home deliveries of balance bikes from our kit library. For more information click here, or contact info@wheelytots.com  To find out how to get the right size bike for your toddler, click here

Doorstep bike services

One of our trained mechanics will come to your home and service your bike on your doorstep.

What safety measures are we putting in place?

When visiting homes to deliver a bike or undertake any bike maintenance, we will:

  • stay outside and remain 3 metres away from you and any members of your household
  • always where gloves
  • disinfect the handlebars of all borrowed bike 

Stay well and take care,

The Wheely Tots team

The kindness of strangers: people rally as our electric bike is stolen

We’re very sad to share that Wheely Tots’ electric bike, a Cube Cross Pro, was stolen on Monday 16th March on Lordship Rec. We use this bike to transport a trailer of cycles around to sessions for families and  Your Bike Project, our youth-led cycling initiative based in Tottenham. Pictures of the bike are here

Although we’re gutted, we’re also heartened by all the empathy and help that David received from strangers and passerbys immediately after the theft on his search for the bag and information. We’ve also received loads of support from people we’ve shared the news with. This feels symptomatic of all the community action that’s taking place right now, proving just how much we can be there for each other.

David was cycling out of Lordship Rec, near the Walpole Road entrance, when two young people blocked his way and asked him for the bike. On the bike was a blue pannier, full of equipment, and attached to it was a hitch that secures the bike to our trailer. 

“I went back to the BMX track, where I saw some of the young people who attend Your Bike Project sessions on Saturdays,” explains David. “I told them what had just happened and asked them to take my blue bag to the community centre or the hub if they found it.” 

“They were more keen to tell me about what a great session they’d had last Saturday, which was nice to hear,” he adds.  

After fetching a spare bike from the Croydon Block in Broadwater Farm Estate – the venue for Your Bike Project Saturday sessions – David explained what had happened to a stranger on a bike, who agreed to accompany him on a recce around the park.

After the cyclist left, David asked a couple of other passerbys if they’d seen his bag. He then spotted something blue on the other side of the Model Traffic Area and cycled towards it.

“Amazingly it was the bag!” says David. “The bike tools were still in it. All my keys – all the keys for everything to do with Your Bike Project and Wheely Tots – were in there. The one thing I’d lost were my gloves, which out of all things considered, is pretty good.

“I passed another guy after I picked up my bag. He said, ‘oh is that yours?’ It was a glove!” 

On his way home David passed Park View School, where he spoke to Mr Chambers, a teacher, who gave David the number of the Deputy Head. “I figured out, if someone might know someone who might know someone who knows where that bike is and maybe we could at least get that hitch back for the trailer, which would be useful.” 

We’re really keen to get the bike back as it’s essential for our work as a charity. If anyone has any information or would like to offer support, please let us know on info@wheelytots.com. Thank you.