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Gearing up for another year

THEY cranked it up a gear last year, and now the Risdon Vale Bike Collective (RVBC) is on track for an even bigger 2019.

Working with young people from Risdon Vale and surrounding suburbs, the RVBC provides social, educational and recreational opportunities centred around push bikes, and has now been playing an important role in the Eastern Shore community for more than a decade.

Members of the group learn to repair and maintain their own bikes and help build and maintain mountain bike bush trails and the local BMX park.

They have restored and sold more than 500 second-hand bikes through the RV Bike Shed since 2014, with the profits going straight back into running the not-for-profit collective.

More than 30 local kids use the RVBC facilities each week, with some having been part of the collective for several years now.

“It’s not just a short program, it’s long-term,” RVBC founder Ant Edler, Tasmania’s 2017 Local Hero award recipient, said.

“Kids come back year after year – we’ve got kids who have been there since primary school, and are now in grade nine or 10.

“That’s a big strength of the program, that continual journey that we have with them.

“It’s giving these young people more confidence, whether it’s to re-engage in school or to apply for jobs and go to interviews.

“They’re getting some experience and the confidence to actually go and use the skills they’ve learned in other settings.”

Late last year, group members began documenting their experiences with the RVBC, reflecting on the positive impact the collective has had on their lives.

They recently celebrated their 2018 achievements at an end-of-year barbecue and awards ceremony, held in the Collective’s Risdon Vale Workshop.

Minister for Sport and Recreation Jacquie Petrusma was there to present certificates to the collective’s volunteers and young members, congratulating them on the hard work they had done in the community.

Prior to last year’s state election, the Liberal Government pledged $190,000 to the RVBC over three years.

“The secure funding has meant we’ve been able to focus on implementing a strategic plan rather than have to chase money, so it has been a really positive year for us,” Mr Edler said.

Ms Petrusma said the funding supported the ongoing operations of the RVBC.

“It also provided assistance to purchase a bike stand for the many young people who are a part of this inspiring collective,” she said.

“Congratulations to (project managers) Third Place Communities, Ant Edler, all the volunteers as well as all the award recipients for their magnificent achievements.”

To find out more about the RVBC’s activities, visit www.rvbikecollective.com or the group’s Facebook page.

Caption: Minister for Sport and Recreation Jacquie Petrusma with members of the Risdon Vale Bike Collective.