Christmas is coming early to young people in a Johannesburg township, who get 26 brand new bikes and accessories from Informa Plc and Halfords to help them learn new skills to set them up in later life.
The bikes have been shipped to the Diepsloot Mountain Bike Club, via IIR SA, an Informa business which promotes the project.
Allyson Towle, Managing Director of IIR SA who runs the Club with her brother every weekend, says, “Diepsloot is a densely populated area within Johannesburg and is home to over 150,000 people, with most living in 2-3m shacks with no access to running water or hygienic sanitation. The Mountain Bike Club is open to young people from 8 years onwards where they are taught transferrable skills, such as bike maintenance, injury prevention, leadership skills, accountability and maintaining a healthy lifestyle”.
The gifts are courtesy of Informa Plc’s ‘Be Involved’ global Corporate Responsibility programme. Informa has a long-standing partnership with Halfords for its employee benefits’ cycle scheme. The bikes have been purchased by Informa, but at greatly reduced prices enabling many more children to benefit from new bicycles and the camaraderie at the Club.
Informa’s business in South Africa, IIR, is highly active in its community. For many years, it has supported, Ekukhanyeni, the home of light and hope, an ongoing community-building project for two impoverished informal settlements. It helps over 600 vulnerable children by running wholly sustainable communities including lovingly-run crèches.
Towle continues, “The Diepsloot Mountain Bike Club also lets the kids socialise and enjoy themselves. Funding is tight and donations are urgently needed, as more kids wish to join every week, as they hear about it by word of mouth. It helps get them off the street at weekends – they love it, they hang around just being great kids. The new bikes will be wonderful, the kids will be so proud of them”.
Halfords Cycle Manager, Ed Hurrell, says, “Bikes can bring so much pleasure to people young and old and are a valuable means of transport. We hope the Club gain much enjoyment from biking and learn new skills in maintaining them.”
Keith Brownlie, Group HR and CR director of Informa, says, “We are enormously proud of IIR’s activity in their community. They donate time and money to support people around them and it’s a guiding light for this important part of a corporate responsibility programme.
“Informa employees around the world are incredibly active with community projects; we recently provided every employee with a day off annually to donate their time to a volunteer project of their choice. When Allyson took me to Ekukhanyeni and Diepsloot, it felt incredibly important to work with a good partner and helpful employees in the UK to make a difference, letting us all become Santa for a day.”