The Base @ Belmont is proud to have offered the first bike restoration program in the South East corridor over a five week program with their boys’ group, and a 10 week program with the 17-25s leadership and employability group.
The East Metropolitan regional council kindly sponsored the Base staff members to complete the required training to carry out the program, as well as providing the equipment for the young people to use.
While the keen participants saw this as a great chance to rip things apart, Youth Services manager David Reid explained the underlying values the program taught the young people.
“Basically it gave the young people the opportunity to dismantle stuff and have fun doing it, but also taught them the responsibility of safe tool use, looking after their tools, being patient, as well as doing things properly while developing their own skills,” David said.
“So they were able to take a bit of junk and do it up and make something nice out of it.”
While the young people were thrilled with the final outcome, David explained the end result was just a bonus, and the focus of the program was on the process rather than the product.
“The program itself is a great engagement tool, to help build those positive relationships and encourage open communication while they’re tinkering away on the bikes,” David said.
“With everything for us it’s all about the process not about the product, so it didn’t really matter if we hadn’t produced any bikes! It was more about developing those technical skills and abilities around use of the tools or the bikes or mechanics of the bike, but also the communication, resilience, patience, time management and organisational skills.”
He added: “It’s all about what they’re getting out of the process rather than the end result - the end results were a great bonus!”
The end results certainly spoke for the hard work they all put into restoring the bikes; from picking a frame they liked, stripping all parts off the bike, to repainting and rethreading the brakes and gear systems – the young people did it all!
The participants were fortunate to have the guidance of The Base @ Belmont Youth Worker, Jos, and two male volunteers, who all completed the training to be able to deliver the program.
“From the boys group they restored three bikes and the who had engaged most consistently throughout the program took those bikes home with them – so they were very very happy and we were happy to get rid of the bikes after five weeks!” David laughed.
Based on the success of the program, The Base is hoping to do more bike restoration programs in 2017 with the boys, girls and mixed groups.