Barrhead bike workshop helps get little Layla moving

  • Layla and her mum Claire are delighted with the new bike

Little Layla McCloskey from Barrhead, who has Cerebral Palsy, has been given a helping hand by the town’s new cycle repair workshop with a new trike to aid her to walk.

The child’s bike rescued from a skip, and reconditioned by adults with additional support needs at the workshop based at the Barrhead Centre is helping three-year-old Layla to walk. The specially adapted tricycle had been left for scrap when it was rescued and given to the new cycle repair workshop at The Barrhead Centre, day care for adults.

Layla’s mum, Claire McCloskey, said: “It’s like a dream come true, we’ve been looking for a tricycle for Layla for so long and were quoted £1,500 to buy one new. Layla is over the moon. She’s faced so many challenges in her life so far and will face many in the future, and this trike will make such a difference to her.

“Because she has Cerebal Palsy our main objective is to keep her moving. This bike will be therapeutic for Layla and great for her mobility, to help build her core balance which will enable her to walk.”

The idea for the bike workshops came from a group of cycle-keen service users who meet regularly as ‘The Barrhead Mellow Velo Club’ and go out on a fleet of 16 specially adapted and various two wheeled bikes.

John Sheridan, The Barrhead Centre’s manager, said: “The Barrhead Centre service users are at the core of this ongoing project and the ideas and drive to make it a reality came from them. They visit auctions to help bid for used bikes which we can re-condition and sell on. The money raised goes back into keeping the workshops sustainable and our own fleet of bikes roadworthy.

“Setting up the cycle workshop gives service users the opportunity to take on responsibilities, learn vocational skills and in turn improve their concentration and communication skills. It gives everybody involved a valid and valued reason to integrate with the community and be a real asset to local life.

“The guys were delighted and enthused to get Layla cycling. They have had many great experiences helping people to access cycling whether by repairing their own cycles or supplying reconditioned ones at low prices but helping Layla was special to them.

“They were falling over themselves to make parts, adjust settings, source bits and generally spruce it up.”

The Barrhead Centre houses the UK’s only bike repair unit run by people with additional support needs, and they saw the potential in giving the trike another life.

The unique cycle workshop is helping to further integrate service users in to the community to help them be recognised as a valuable asset to local life. And one of their first tasks was overhauling tot Layla’s bike in time for summer.

To become experts with bikes, service users received training so that, under supervision, they can fit tyres, repair punctures, service bikes and run a safety check for a small fee. To ensure the workshop’s sustainability they also sell used and reconditioned cycles and new and used parts. Since the workshop opened there has been a steady stream of people bringing their cycles in to be fixed, to trade in, or buy a new one.

To encourage and support the wider community to get out and about and enjoy cycling the Barrhead Centre also loans out children and adult bikes for free.

The project is supported with funding from Cycling Scotland and the CHCP’s criminal justice team.

Individuals completing community payback orders helped get the project off the ground. They dug the foundations, landscaped the grounds and built and kitted out the workshop and storage containers. Some will fulfil their payback orders by working in the bike workshop too.

The cycle workshop is open week days at Barrhead Resource Centre, Barrhead, from 10am to 2pm. And the team would be greatful for the donation of any bikes or spare bike parts. The cycle workshop is also looking for volunteers. Call 0141 577 8506 if you want to get involved.

The Barrhead Centre is run by East Renfrewshire Community Health Care Partnership.

Good luck to Layla, and thanks and congratulations to the team at the centre! Post your comments and have your say here on s1barrhead


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