University’s Recycle Shack keeping Sheffield green

Recycle Shack -Lewis Dennett (Apprentice mechanic), Darren Hardwick (university), Karlos  Bingham (mechanic)
Recycle Shack -Lewis Dennett (Apprentice mechanic), Darren Hardwick (university), Karlos Bingham (mechanic)

A wheel-y good idea has taken off for the University of Sheffield.

The Recycle Shack, which restores unwanted pushbikes and sells them on at a cut price to students, is celebrating its fifth year in business.

Mechanic Karlos Bingham hard at work in the university's Recycle Shack

Mechanic Karlos Bingham hard at work in the university's Recycle Shack

And it seems five is the magic number for the project – as it has just recycled its 500th set of two wheels.

Demand for the shack’s service, which also includes repair and maintenance work, has soared so much it now has a full-time bike mechanic and has taken on three apprentices.

Darren Hardwick, travel planner at the University of Sheffield, said: “We have been working with Recycle Bikes, a local bike charity, for the past five years.

“We’ve refurbished 500 bikes which we sell on at subsidised prices to students and we do lots of servicing and repairs.

“It’s really nice to work with apprentices and watch them interacting with the students.”

Karlos Bingham started out as an apprentice at the Recycle Shack before being taken on as a full-time bike mechanic.

He said: “I have always been into bikes, since going to my mate’s house and messing around with spanners.

“I love riding them and Sheffield is great for it with its hills and the Peak District.

“After I got the job I could not have been any happier. I’ve now got the opportunity to teach other people myself.”

Teenager Lewis Dennett was a school drop-out before he was taken on.

He said: “I was not getting on at school and they didn’t know what to do with me. I couldn’t stay in class.

“They found me the trade placement and since day one I just took to it. I could not get enough of it.

“Talking to customers has really boosted my confidence.

“When I first came here I wouldn’t even answer the phone.”

The scheme was highly commended in the Environmental Association for Universities and Colleges’ annual Green Gown awards.

The organisation praised Sheffield’s work to encourage students and staff to adopt a more eco-friendly way to get to classes, libraries and lectures. Their motto is to ‘keep the city green’.

Mr Hardwick added: “Being shortlisted was really good – getting national recognition for the project.

“Hopefully we can act as an example to other organisations.”