On the last day of February, the 29th, we packed bike number 10,000 into a sea container for The Gambia.
This very special loading, our 28th, took place outside Dover prison, known correctly as the Dover Immigration Removal Centre.
Detainees, as they are called at the centre run by the Prison Service, have refurbished over 3,000 bikes for the bikes4Africa programme.
Dover has been a major partner to the whole programme and the positive effects felt by all are in large measure due to their involvement.
The bikes worked on all originate from the local area. Kent Police and Kent County Council contribute, as well as local Rotary Clubs including Canterbury Sunrise. The model at Dover is very close to being the ideal model for jole rider’s bikes4Africa, with so many sections of society working closely together to change lives. Bikes are also delivered to Dover by jole rider supporters in Luxembourg, making the bikes4Africa programme truly european.
At this, the fifth shipment to be loaded outside the gatehouse at Dover, jole rider’s team was assisted by Centre staff and volunteer inmates from HMP Standford Hill resettlement prison in north Kent.
To mark the occasion and recognise the successful partnership, the event was attended by senior Prison Service staff, including Sarah Pennington and Paul Carroll, and representatives from the UK Border Agency. Also onside were senior staff from Kent Police including Commander Mark Nottage and Community Liaison Officer Mick Cronin. Kent police are a main contributor of bicycles to the programme.
Great big thanks to the Centre Governor and kitchen staff for the celebratory lunch and especially the 10,000th bike cake.