WHEELS for Hope is a new bikeshed project launched at Lake Macquarie Fair which aims to get disadvantaged and disabled kids riding towards their dreams.
Each Wednesday afternoon from 4pm to 6pm, local youth will be supported by helpers from Centre For Hope, which runs the project, to recondition old bikes at a custom-fitted location at the Mt Hutton-based shopping centre.
At the end of the eight-week program, the kids will get to take the bikes home.
Centre For Hope will provide a helmet and certificate on completion of a bike safety course.
powered by plista. ‘We’re trying to help young people to reconnect with themselves,’’ Centre For Hope CEO Geraldine Moran said.
‘‘It fills in time and they’re actually doing something positive for themselves.’’ The Wheels For Hope initiative is part of the Mitji Ngwali program Centre For Hope runs with local schools including Windale and Wirrapung primary schools, Hunter Sports High.
‘‘Mitji Ngwali is Awabakal for ‘‘little wave’’, and the idea is to create that ripple, start that wave that rolls towards something bigger,’’ Ms Moran said.
‘‘We want to help a young person identify a dream and set reasonable goals to get there.’’
Ms Moran said the program was a tangible way to engage people and the community outside school hours.
‘‘The manager of Lake Macquarie Fair, Charter Hall, have bent over backwards to help us,’’ Ms Moran said. ‘‘They let us set up a shipping container on their property, actively encouraged businesses to get behind us, and provided security. Bunnings has provided all the tools and equipment we need plus the barbecue for the launch.
Ms Moran is hoping that canny people in the community with skills, time and energy on their hands may want to get involved too. ‘We put a call-out and already have 50 bikes to work on, so the response has already been great,’’ she said. ‘‘We’ll just get it up and running and see how it grows.’’
As a local shopping centre servicing the local community Lake Macquarie Fair centre manager Shane Barr said his organisation was delighted to partner with the Wheels For Hope Project.
‘‘Lake Macquarie Fair is often the central meeting place for people in the community and our partnership with Centre For Hope is about ensuring the community can connect with the services they provide, to empower and inspire disadvantaged young Australians.”
Lake Macquarie lord mayor Jodie Harrison launched Wheels For Hope. To learn more about Centre For Hope, visit the What We Do page of the website.