PRESS RELEASE: 13 February 2021

Preloved is in the air: Council-social enterprise partnership brings new life to retired Belfast bikes

Northern Ireland Resources Network (NIRN) and East Belfast Mission are working in tandem to find new homes for preloved bikes while proceeds will go towards raising funds to renew and transform the East Belfast Community.

It was the perfect match…East Belfast Mission needed preloved bikes to repair and resell in its charity shops, Restore, and Belfast City Council needed partners to donate its retired bikes.

Belfast City council contacted NIRN, a new Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) funded network of reuse and repair organisations to advise. With NIRN’s help, the bikes were soon matched up with a range of charities and social enterprises across the city, including fellow NIRN member, East Belfast Mission.

Eimear Montague, Network Coordinator for NIRN said “NIRN was pleased to help the Council with this initiative. It was especially pleasing to connect these two Members who mutually support recirculating the bicycles for the benefit of the local community whilst also helping to reduce Northern Ireland’s waste.”

This exchange of preloved bikes will provide environmental benefits by contributing to the circular economy, which aims to maintain the value of products, materials and resources within the economy for as long as possible, and to minimise the generation of waste. It will also have social and economic benefits as social enterprises create jobs and training opportunities and invest in services for communities.
Councillor Daniel Baker, Chair of the People and Communities Committee said: “By working with the NI Resources Network to expand the levels of reuse and repair in Belfast we will keep goods and materials in use for longer. Prime example of this in action was the recent donation we made to community groups and charities of our old Belfast Bike models. These bikes have been upcycled and are being reused in communities across the city. Increasing levels of reuse and repair aligns with our waste objectives and will make the city more environmentally sustainable, but it will also deliver benefits to our community at the same time. We believe that this kind of ‘circular economy’ thinking and approach, which combines social, economic and environmental benefits, has much to offer the city, and membership of the network will help us capitalise on more opportunities.”

East Belfast Mission redirects tonnes of waste furniture and bicycles which would normally end up in landfill. Their Recycle project repairs and refurbishes bicycles both donated by the public and collected from council recycling centres – these are then sold in its chain of Restore charity shops or donated through its services to those in need in the community.

“We are over the moon recently to have received 10 brilliant Belfast Bikes from Belfast City Council! These bikes will be used in a range of ways across our charity including within our Hosford Homelessness Services and Employability Services to provide vital transport for clients travelling to work and appointments who otherwise would have to rely on public transport, we will also be refurbishing some of these bicycles in our Refurb project for sale in our Restore shops across Belfast, and beyond, to help to raise vital funds towards our work changing lives in east Belfast. We are so grateful for the generous support of Belfast City Council and can’t wait to see these bikes back out on the road in our community!” said Michael Sloan, East Belfast Mission Retail Manager

As Northern Ireland continues to tackle its waste generation and develop further the circular economy thinking and approach, NIRN and its members will work to promote and to drive education and awareness and further opportunities for reuse. For more information about NIRN and it’s members contact info@ni-rn.com

For media inquiries or to arrange an interview contact: Eimear Montague, NIRN’s Network Coordinator at Tel: 07591 409833 or Email: eimear@ni-rn.com

About Northern Ireland Resources Network (NIRN) – A DAERA-funded pilot project of Community Resources Network Ireland (CRNI) to establish a representative body for reuse and repair organisations and local authorities in Northern Ireland. NIRN connects community groups, charities, social enterprises and local authorities across Northern Ireland to promote less waste and supports the growth and collaboration between these reuse and repair organisations. For more information, visit https://crni.ie/ni_pilot_reuse_repair_network/ or @NIresourcesnet on Twitter and @NIresourcesnet on Facebook.

About Belfast City Council (BCC) – Responsible for managing the city’s household waste in line with the ‘waste hierarchy’. This means going beyond recycling, and moving the city’s waste management activities up the hierarchy into the categories of repair, reuse and prevention. These types of activities fit with the circular economy concept which is gaining greater recognition globally. The circular economy approach aims to reduce our use of natural resources by addressing the whole system of consumption, production and waste while generating local social and economic benefits. For more information, visit https://www.belfastcity.gov.uk/ or @belfastcc on Twitter or @belfastcitycouncil on Facebook.

About East Belfast Mission (EBM) – Working in Community Regeneration in Ballymacarrett, a particularly socially deprived area of east Belfast, EBM has a long track record of social engagement in the inner city and works to achieve renewal and transformation. East Belfast Mission redirects tonnes of waste furniture and bicycles which would normally end up in landfill. Their Recycle project repairs and refurbishes bicycles both donated by the public and collected from council recycling centres- these are then sold in its chain of Restore charity shops or donated through its services to those in need in the community. For more information, visit https://www.ebm.org.uk/ or @ebelfastmission on Twitter and @ebm239 on Facebook.

Donated Belfast Bikes
Alistair Millar from Belfast Bikes & Cuan Ó’Néill from Saints Youth Centre (from left to right)
Alistair Millar from Belfast Bikes with Michael Sloan from East Belfast Mission (from left to right)
Michael Sloan East Belfast Mission, Michael Lowry East Belfast Mission and Alistair Millar from Belfast Bikes (from left to right)
  • February 16, 2021

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Our funders

EPA National Waste Prevention Programme

CRNI supports its members and works to mainstream reuse thanks to core funding provided by the EPA under the National Waste Prevention Programme.

For more information about the programme see here.

Project Funding

Pilot Northern Ireland Reuse and Repair Network

CRNI received funding from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and rural Affairs in 2020 to carry out a pilot establishing a reuse and repair network in Northern Ireland.

For more information about the project see here.

Qualification and Quantification of Reuse

CRNI is part of a research consortium working on the Q2Reuse project, which aims to develop a methodology for the qualification and quantification of reuse. This project will be concluded in 2021.

For more information about the project see here.