Recycled bicycles help developing countries and prisoners

Palen Creek Correctional Centre (PCCC) is helping people in developing countries with mobility issues by recycling unwanted bicycles into wheelchairs.

Through a partnership with the Wheelchair Aid project run by the Rotary Club of Surfers Sunshine, officers from PCCC identified that it could be used by the centre to help prisoners learn a new set of skills.

International research suggests that when prisoners are released into the community and have stable accommodation, social support and employment opportunities, they have the best chance of not reoffending, which makes the community safer for everyone.

PCCC Acting Deputy General Manager Dave Gordon said that project had been running for 22 years and officers were using the project as part of a community services program.

“Since introducing the program, PCCC has produced 2,116 wheelchairs and it is really good to see the prisoners with meaningful employment as part of structured day,” Superintendent Gordon said.

“On this project, the prisoners are developing a range of skills, including welding, spray-painting, air brushing and bicycle repair.

“It also gives the prisoners a huge sense of satisfaction as they know they are helping to give the gift of mobility to people in need.”

Almost 9,000 of these mobility aids have been delivered to people in need in East Timor, Vietnam, Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Samoa and Africa.

PCCC sources the unwanted bicycles from refuse transfer centres with the permission of local authorities.

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