Image: Cardiff Rivers group.

Sale of vandalised bikes pulled from rivers by volunteers raises £2,000 for food banks

Cardiff Rivers Group donated funds to help people who are struggling this winter

VOLUNTEERS from Cardiff Rivers Group have raised £2,000 for local food banks by selling scrap metal it has pulled from rivers and other sites.

The group has donated £1,000 each to Cardiff Foodbank and Fareshare to help feed families this Christmas.

A lot of the scrap metal came from 125 dumped OVO bikes which were found in a variety of locations around Cardiff. Some of the bikes had been thrown in rivers and others were “mindlessly smashed up,” said Nigel Barry, the secretary of the Cardiff Rivers group.

“We were invited to partner with OVO bikes to use some of the scrap bikes and parts for funding.”

OVO provides an electric bike hire service in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan, allowing people to travel around with zero carbon emissions. However, OVO describes cycle crime, which includes vandalism, as an “all-too-common problem” for its network.

OVO bikes can be hired across Cardiff, Penarth and the rest of the Vale of Glamorgan. Image: Robin Drayton.

Previously, Cardiff Rivers would collect broken parts from bikes which had already been dismantled from a storage facility, and add them to other metal collected from around the city. This would then be weighed in for scrap value.

“More recently we went industrial and created a task force,” said Mr Barry.

These volunteers dismantle the scrap bikes and sort their parts by types of metal. The scrap metal is then sold to European Metal Recycling (EMR), where its value is calculated based on the weight and grade of the metal as well as the worldwide markets.

Cardiff Rivers has also collected scrap metal in the form of 1,000 large nitrous oxide canisters, plus other miscellaneous items such as shopping trolleys and scooters.

Cardiff Rivers’ mission is to make a difference by cleaning Cardiff’s streets and rivers. Image: Cardiff Rivers group.

Emma Shepherd, a project manager at Cardiff Foodbank, said that Cardiff Rivers is “helping the community by clearing the rivers, and turning the scrap metal into a donation for us to help feed people in crisis in the community too.

“The donation comes at a time when demand for emergency food parcels has never been so high, so will be a big help in the tough winter months”.

The group’s efforts to tackle food poverty were inspired by the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on local people.

“It was felt that the funds collected could be diverted to other worthy causes,” said Mr Barry.

“We have made donations to other groups before but not on the same scale. Other good causes we’ve helped in the past include the Dusty Shed, ACE and Nulife. Each organisation has benefited at some stage from our sale of scrap metal.”

Mr Barry said that anyone interested in volunteering with Cardiff Rivers “should sign up or subscribe to our event emails and come along and join us”.

Cardiff Rivers can provide litter-picking equipment for those who do not have their own. Volunteers at the events should wear suitable outdoor clothing and wellies.