The story behind the sign
Written by Campbell Elmer
Our relationship with local community groups extends beyond just supporting sporting clubs and schools. The Eltham Men’s Shed is one example of this.
Men’s Sheds are places where local men can gather to work on projects, big and small, where they can build comradery while contributing to their community.
One of their projects which we have been proud to support since 2015 is the Eltham Men’s Shed Bike Restoration Group, with an annual donation of $600. It is the brainchild of a number of bicycle enthusiasts at the shed who, at the time, only wanted to learn how to fix and maintain their own bikes.
"The original aim was to encourage men to ride and improve their fitness," said Harry Morris, Secretary of the Eltham Men’s Shed.
"The owner of the Eltham Bicycle Centre, Andrew Thomas, offered his expert assistance to teach the group. Andrew showed them how to restore, maintain and adjust gears of all types and to ensure their bikes were kept in a safe condition," says Harry.
"After a few months, and once the group were competent at maintaining their own bikes, Andrew asked, 'Now what are you going to do with your skills?' laying down a challenge to accept bikes for restoration and then donate to individuals who were doing it tough. From there, the Bike Restoration Project was born."
In order to fix a bike properly, the group must assess the bike, then disassemble and clean the components. Wheels and tyres are inspected and repaired or replaced, as are the brakes, gears, seats and anything else that needs it.
The cost of this is around $20, which means around 160 bikes in total have been restored with the support of the Community Bank.
"The support the Community Bank has provided ensures that the program is self-supporting and doesn’t rely on other shed funds,” said Harry.
These newly restored bikes are donated to under-privileged and refugee families, school programs, church groups, charities, youth counsellors, among many others.
The project has been received extremely well by the community and the shed now receives requests from community groups all over the North-East of Melbourne. In fact, the project has been so successful, the Bike Restoration Group is now collecting bikes and parts on behalf of an Australian aid charity working in Africa.
Harry also says that while the project is a huge boon for the community at large, it also helps the men of the shed themselves.
"The Bike Restoration Group are all active bike riders and know the personal benefits of being fit and healthy. The comradery built up within the group supports the objective of being active, combined with community connection and involvement."
The bikes they source are all donated by members of the community who know of this project through word of mouth and the great reputation of the Eltham Men’s Shed.
If you would like to donate a bike or know more about how you can support the Eltham Men’s Shed, email them: firstname.lastname@example.org