PARENTS and pupils from Swindon Academy were able to bag themselves a bargain on Saturday when bikes refurbished by Swindon’s homeless community went on sale.

The Recycles shop, in Spring Close, which is run as a social enterprise by the Salvation Army, came up with the idea after partnering with the Pinehurst-based school.

Recycles offers courses and volunteering opportunities for the residents of Booth House, a Salvation Army accommodation centre which provides lodgings for people experiencing homelessness.

Bikes that were renovated as part of the scheme were put on sale at an event on Saturday, allowing families who may not be able to afford a full priced bike this Christmas to get their hands on a bargain.

The initiative is an extension of the work being done by Recycles, they already offer refurbished bikes, cycle repair and servicing, as well as a cycle hire scheme and cycle maintenance courses from their town centre base.

The bikes on offer this weekend included a selection suitable for children aged two to 19, with each bike priced at £30 or below.

Emma Hambidge, the programme co-ordinator at Recycles, said: “‘We are pleased to be able to provide the opportunity for Swindon Academy students and their families to purchase quality bikes at an affordable price.

“This partnership also has a wider impact as it enables our Recycles volunteers, service users at Booth House who have experienced homelessness, to not only develop skills and experience in the bike trade but also make a positive contribution to the local community.”

By taking part in the activities on offer at Recycles, the volunteers learn valuable skills in teamwork and leadership.

And they also gain more tangible skills in health and safety and cycle maintenance, which have already provided invaluable to some in finding the employment necessary to secure a stable future.

Helen Beardall, the community education officer at Swindon Academy said: “Our school serves a large area of high deprivation and social exclusion in Swindon.

“Families struggle to make ends meet and affording a bike for your child can be an expense that families cannot accommodate.

“We are therefore delighted to be working with Recycles to put on this event.

“The offer of safe and affordable bikes to our students will help many of our young people to get to school and keep fit and healthy through cycling in their spare time.

“Recycles is a fabulous social enterprise and this event is a real example of how they are investing in the wider community.

“We are very grateful to Emma Hambidge and her team at the Swindon branch for their help to invest in cycling in our community.

“We have also worked with the transport department at Swindon Borough Council who will be providing information on safe routes for cycling and with Cycle SOS, who have kindly sent us a stock of free reflective bands to help us to promote safe cycling.”

The event proved to be a great success with a rush of interested families coming through the doors shortly after they opened.