Re~Cycle, the charity that sends unwanted UK bikes for repair and distribution in the developing world, has won a £15 000 award for its 'social entrepreneurship'. Re~Cycle’s founder and CEO Merlin Matthews was one of three winners in the 2001 Upstart Awards organised by Centrica and the New Statesman magazine.

Re~Cycle wins £15k ‘social entrepreneur’ comp

Re~Cycle plans to use the prize money toward setting up a network of eight collection points around the UK to meet demand from South Africa for 1m bikes over the next 10 years.

Matthews said: "Winning the award is fantastic for us. It’s great to get recognition of the work we are doing,not just for me but for the team of volunteers who help collect the bikes and pack the containers and for everybody who has given us a bike and seen it go off to a good new home."

Matthews set up Re~Cycle in 1997 after working as a Dr.Bike at the London School of Economics and seeing the number of unwanted and abandoned bikes. The charity has so far shipped nineteen 40-foot containers, containing 5700 bikes, to six countries. Its main focus is South Africa where a partner organisation, Afribike, distributes the bikes and trains local people to fix and maintain them.

The Upstart Awards are in their first year. They are designed to support social entrepreneurs: individuals who are developing innovative ways of meeting social and environmental need. The Upstart Award judges included Paul Boeteng MP, David ‘Two Brains’ Willetts MP as well as representatives from Centrica and the New Statesman.

Re~Cycle gets bike trade support from numerous UK suppliers, some of whom – Weldtite for example – donate products. The Royal Mail donates up to 5000 former mail bikes a year to Re~Cycle.

Tel: 01206 382207

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