Gav’s Bikes started when some friends across the road were throwing a bike away, I asked if I could have it, fixed it up and put it on Facebook. At first, I was only asking for pay as you feel donations; I started getting lots of enquiries on Facebook, so I began servicing and recycling more and more bikes.
To date, we’ve raised about £5,000 from bikes and donations. I started donating to cancer research and decided that, as this became more and more of a community effort, I wanted to keep it local. Since the beginning of Lockdown, I’d been volunteering in the District, I started helping out with a local food bank and dropping off donated toiletries at Pinderfields hospital. I’ve enjoyed every minute of all the helping out in the community, the people have made the community effort what it is. When Gav’s bikes started gaining more traction, I reached out to find out who needed help locally; I found a small local Charity called Stepping Stones Baby Bank and started giving donations to help with new stock etc and a local Cattery to help with Vet bills. I then began to support children in the area with long-term illnesses. The first time, I started a GoFundMe page and within an hour, we had raised £1,000. We’re currently helping to raise funds for a local little boy to enable him to go to LegoLand Windsor, we’ve raised around £3,000 for him to date- to visit Manchester. The community have really come together in this effort; dressing up as superhero’s and going to visit him. We’ve supported five brave children so far, we give donations to help a local lady with physiotherapy costs that won’t be funded through the NHS and we’ve also supported a lady undergoing chemotherapy to get a new bathroom so that she can enjoy her baths.
We’ve created a small team due to the sheer demand, my lovely neighbour, Jo, does admin on Gav’s Bikes Facebook page which now has 600+ likes! My friend Michael has also been furloughed from truck driving and has tirelessly driven round picking up all the donated bikes for me, without accepting a penny. The whole project just means so much to me, I honestly feel like it has given me a purpose in life. I want to keep going for as long as I can.