An entrepreneurial youth group is hoping to fill a gap in the market with the launch of a cycle repair teaching facility in the Borders.
Tweeddale Youth Action (TYA), which offers young people a safe space to develop skills and self-esteem, is hoping to extend its Bike Punks scheme to help fund its work.
TYA’s Innerleithen Youth Club, in the heart of Borders cycling country, already has its own bike repair workshop complete with five workstations, bike stands and tools.
Now the group has embarked on the uphill task of crowdfunding £15,000 – which will be matched by a European LEADER grant – to employ a specialist mechanic who will open it up as a service all cyclists can access at evenings and weekends.
Project manager Dave Hodson explained: “On the back of large government funding from the climate challenge fund, we were left with this kitted out bike workshop.
“It’s a great facility which is really under utilised. It’s a crime to have this resource in the community and not make the most of it and open it up, so it just seemed like a no brainer.
“Conversations with local cyclists have highlighted a gap in the market, with many cyclists lacking mechanical knowledge, confidence and/or the space and specialist tools to effectively maintain their bikes.
“Our bike repair workshop could be a hub for peer support, training and learning with regular classes on all aspects of bike repair.”
As well as bike repair and creative metalwork, Tweeddale Youth Action also delivers cookery, textile and art classes, as well as providing casual drop-in sessions and one to one support at its bases in Innerleithen and Peebles.
Dave added: “There is a cost associated with delivering high quality youth work and at the moment we are really struggling to find funding.
“Generating some income is just one way of reducing that dependance on grant funding.
“We need to make sure our support for children and young people continues, so anything we can do ourselves is good.”
If the group manages to reach its ambitious target, the bike repair workshop should be up and running in Chapel Street from early August. Go to www.crowdfunder.co.uk/tweeddale-youth-take-action