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Cycle for Success – Give Where You Live support for MacKillop’s Step:Bike program

MacKillop Family Services’ Step:Bike program is one of the recipients of the 2022 Education and Employment annual grants announced by the Geelong based Give Where You Live Foundation.

Step:Bike will receive $35,000 to support vulnerable young people to learn about bike maintenance and safety.

Following a successful pilot program run in Geelong during 2019 and early 2020, the program has been a huge success, building confidence, employability skills, responsibility and a community connection for the young people taking part.

The brain child of one of MacKillop’s Residential Care Workers, Rick Bromley, Step:Bike works with disadvantaged and at-risk young people living in Out of Home Care in the Geelong region, giving them the opportunity to learn how to repair and restore bicycles donated by the local police and community members.

Rick loved tinkering with bikes and cars when he was a teenager and felt that the young people he works with in residential care might enjoy it too.

“Many of the young people we work with have never had the opportunity to learn about using tools or maintaining bicycles. While working on the bikes, the kids are not only learning new skills, but it can give us a way to connect and chat while we’re changing a wheel or fixing a chain.

“Through the help of the community, who donate old bicycles, kids get to work on refurbishing a bicycle that will become theirs when it is ready. We’ve had young people who fixed bikes for their siblings, and others who have been able to get part-time jobs once they’ve got their own bicycle to get around,” Rick added.

Bill Mithen, CEO of the Give Where You Live Foundation said the Foundation is pleased to be able to support MacKillop Family Services’ Step:Bike program through its 2022 Education and Employment Annual Grants, which in total will provide over $445,000 in grants to 15 organisation from the G21 region.

“Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, this year the Foundation will distribute over $445,000 through our Annual Education and Employment grants to 15 organisations operating programs that support students and employment opportunities in the local community.”

“We know that young people in our community were among the most impacted by COVID-19 and this year’s Education and Employment Grant applications had a strong focus on supporting young people following the pandemic. We’re proud to provide MacKillop Family Services with a $35,000 grant to support young people to build confidence, connection and employability skills through their Step:Bike program,” Mr Mithen added.

In the three years this innovative program has been running, more than 80 refurbished bicycles have been provided to young people who had no previous experience of using tools, changing wheels, checking brakes or safe cycling. Step:Bike has given them a sense of achievement and opened the door to future employment opportunities.