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.
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