Changing young lives
Co-op Members have helped raise an amazing £19million for thousands of local causes across the UK* – OnTrak in Bradford is one of them
You might not automatically think that learning how to change a bicycle tyre would change a life. But that’s exactly what’s happening at the Bradford based community project OnTrak, one of the local causes that will benefit from a share of the money raised by Co-op Members.
Run by retired Adrian Woods MBE, it’s a project that teaches young people who are disadvantaged, or who’ve been excluded from school, about mechanics, giving them a chance at a future when they feel like they’re going nowhere. ‘The original idea was to send out 80 repaired bicycles to help kids in need, but it’s grown to around 4,000 a year now,” Adrian laughs. ‘My retirement plans haven’t quite worked out…’
Today Adrian works with around 60 different organisations to find the youngsters who can most benefit from his help in the garage he runs. “We teach up to 30 students a week in English, maths and mechanics in a classroom above the garage. Some of the children that come haven’t been to school for over a year but they want to learn when they come to us. With us they can also get hands-on experience of repairing different bikes and vehicles. The aim is to lead by example and send them on to work or higher education.”
Every year, Adrian relies on the generous donations of thousands of broken bikes, which are then repaired by Adrian and the youngsters. Once fixed, they then go to organisations like schools and children’s homes where they’ll help them learn road safety. “If it saves one child’s life, it’s worth it,” says Adrian. The charity also fixes cars new and old and carries out services and MOTs, with the help of the students.
As an entirely self-funded charity, every penny helps and recently Adrian was delighted that OnTrak were selected as one of the causes that Co-op Members could choose to support. This means that Co-op Members are helping to change lives just by doing their weekly shop as 1%* of what they spend on selected Co-op branded products and services, goes to a local cause they get to choose. “The donation from the Co-op is the first bit of money I’ve had and will really help me run one of my projects.”
Teenagers come to OnTrak to learn life skills and get experience of the world of work
Co-op Members like Charlene are supporting local causes across the UK