A BIKE charity which was hit by a devastating fire has launched a crowdfunding campaign in a bid to stay afloat over the festive period.
Staff at the Bike Station are hoping to drum up £10,000 in time for Christmas after a blaze at their Causewayside premises in October caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.
The charity, which revamps old bikes before selling them on, has been forced to move into a temporary warehouse with no heating while investigations continue into what caused the fire.
Much of their community and outreach work has had to be put on hold and now the public are being urged to donate whatever they can spare in exchange for a number of incentives.
Manager Steve Hynd said: “Without access to a functional workshop space and appropriate tools, we haven’t been able to hold our Fix Your Own Bike sessions, which are a great educational resource for the local cycling community.
“With the cold weather setting in, and people less likely to get on their bikes, the fire couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time.
“We would like to ask for help from members of the public.
“This could take the form of sharing our cause on social media, with your family and friends or anyone you may think might be interested in helping.
“Any cash donations through our crowdfunder appeal would be of great help. However small, even a few pounds will go a long way.”
The crowdfunding campaign will run for a period of two weeks, with rewards for donations including free bike services – which can cost up to £100 – and bike maintenance classes.
Office administrators Jennifer Baker and Sylwia Zelazna came up with the idea.
Jennifer, 34, told the News the past few months had been a “difficult time” for the charity and that it would be February at the earliest before they could move back to their old building.
She said: “It’s quite disruptive especially over this winter period when things are a bit quiet because people aren’t around.
“We have run a couple of crowdfunders before but we are at a stage now where we really do need help.
“Our mechanics are working in very cold conditions in a warehouse – we are trying to find ways to keep them heated and we really need money to keep out projects going so that we can go out into the community and help people.”
As well as restoring bikes, the charity is also pushing forward with its bid to try and get two balance bikes into every nursery across the Capital.
“We aren’t just about cycling, we are about the community,” Jennifer added.
“We are about keeping people healthy and fit, we are about environment sustainability and we just want to help as many people as we possibly can gain new skills.
“Even a couple of pounds would be extremely helpful.”
The cause of the fire, which took hold at about 1am on October 24, is not yet clear.
The blaze came as the charity was preparing to celebrate its 15th anniversary after a bumper year.
Around 50 bikes were salvaged from the premises at the time, although many were heavily smoke damaged or beyond repair. Among the stock destroyed was a “landmark” 50,000th bike recycled by the charity.
To make a donation, visit crowdfunder.co.uk/surviving-after-fire.