A SCHOOL is gearing up to become the hub of its campus and the wider cycling community.

A bicycle recycling and repair centre is being set up at Cloughwood Academy in a bid to get Hartford cycling.

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans has been working with schools and colleges in Hartford and Castle to encourage staff, pupils and students to walk and cycle.

Cloughwood School, in Stones Manor Lane, has been inspired to take this a stage further and explore the mechanics of the humble bike.

Alain Ayliffe, from the school, said: “We had 10 bikes donated to us from Sustrans and didn’t want to get them damaged so we started doing maintenance and thought ‘why not get the kids involved?’.

“It’s snowballed from there since then.”

The school has set up a workshop where pupils will learn how to fix bikes with the long-term aim of offering repairs to the community.

Alain said: “At first it will only be for the Hartford campus but we’re going to try to broaden it out to the community, get more bikes in and get more people from Hartford using bikes.

“The idea is that hopefully it will eventually be a hub for the people in the community to have quick repairs.”

But the main aim of the workshop is to refurbish old bikes so the school is appealing for residents to donated unwanted bikes to the project.

Sarah Diamond, the Sustrans project officer who has been working in Hartford, said: “We need bikes to be donated now – we’ve got tools and the workshop and everything’s ready to go.

“Bring in your old bike even if it’s completely trashed because we can strip it down and use the parts.

“As part of the Access to Education project we’re trying to find stores of cheap affordable bikes for people living and working around the campus.

“We especially need kids’ bikes – it’s a barrier if you’ve got a kid who’s constantly growing because you can’t afford to keep getting them new bikes.

“We’ve done a lot of cycling sessions and you see kids riding bikes that are really too small for them with their knees up to their ears so we need to provide in-between stages of bikes.

“A lot of people have got an old bike at home that will just go on a skip or lie there but it could be brought back to life and given to someone who really wants to use it to travel to school or use outside school.”

The project aims to provide low-cost bikes to its partner schools and will eventually be able to offer refurbished bikes to the community.

Sarah said: “This is completely unique – a project like this has never been run through a school before in such a specifically targeted way.”

For more information ring the school on 01606 76671.