Innovation Exchange

Melo Velo

Introduction

Key activities

Benefits and impacts

Learning

Further Information

Since 2011, service users at the Barrhead Centre, a local authority resource for adults with learning and other disabilities, have run the ‘Barrhead Melo Velo Club’, a unique cycle club and repair project for service users, securing funding to purchase a range of cycles to promote exercise and social opportunities.  Training is provided to service users, volunteers and staff and the club has now worked with hundreds of bicycles (for sale, refurbishment and use by club members).  Free cycle safety checks have been provided in the community and the project is now available to all East Renfrewshire residents.  The club also provides a bicycle repair service, generating income and supporting the sustainability of the project.

 

Melo Velo has also seen strong partnership working between learning disabilities and criminal justice services, with offenders undertaking unpaid work at the project.

Theme: Health and Social Care

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In March 2011, Barrhead Centre service users sought funding to develop a cycle club for adults with learning disabilities.  The service user committee set up ‘The Barrhead Melo Velo Club’ and purchased three special adult trikes, five standard bicycles and tools/equipment for cycle maintenance.  For some service users, this was their first experience of cycling.  They enjoyed the exercise and inherent social benefits so were keen to expand the project for every adult with a disability in East Renfrewshire.

 

Continued demand led to further funding to provide cycle riding and maintenance training with the aim of creating a low cost service for adults with disabilities to service and repair their cycles and pass on new skills to others.

 

By working together, Barrhead Centre and criminal justice staff promoted positive re-integration opportunities for offenders by enabling them to contribute to a visible, community based service to benefit others.

 

The Melo Velo workshop is now largely self-financing via sales of refurbished cycles and service/repair of cycles for the public.  Since the workshop and cycling club are open to all regardless of disability/ability and sale/repair charges are low, the Melo Velo club seeks to reduce inequalities by providing an accessible, competitive service to the community.

The impact of the Melo Velo club has been considerable.  Whilst staffing is sufficient for the activity and cycles are kept in good order, the repair workshop experiences demand beyond supply and refurbished cycles are in great demand.

 

For offenders, this has often been their first experience of meeting and interacting with vulnerable individuals with disabilities and support needs.  As such, service users and offenders work together to challenge misconceptions, barriers to inclusion and develop positive working relationships.  This is evidenced by mutual respect, increased understanding and contributes to community re-integration by offenders.

 

The Melo Velo Club represents an innovative and affordable project to strengthen the community through involvement of service users and offenders.   Expansion of the project as a social enterprise has contributed the sustainability of the Melo Velo club.   The club helps service users develop their social and practical skills, and provides desistance opportunities for offenders, making a positive contribution to the local community.

Establishing what is believed to be the first cycle club and repair project by adults with learning disabilities was an innovative development for the Barrhead Centre.

 

Service users and staff worked closely with local partners to establish the project and expand provision to ensure an accessible local facility.

Contact details:

To find out more about this case study, please contact:

 

Les Gaff

Criminal Justice Service Manager

East Renfrewshire Council

0141 577 3269

Case study added to site: June 2016

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