Bass Coast Adult Education Centre has been recognised by the Commonwealth Bank with a community grant of $9,889. The grant will be used to build a shed to house the VCAL bicycle restoration project called Community Bikes. The cheque was handed over by Commonwealth Bank Wonthaggi branch manager Paul Spruhan (pictured back row, third from right) on Monday 23rd June, 2014.
Community VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) is an alternative secondary college program for young people. VCAL teacher Tom Murray-White (pictured front, second from left) said that he had noticed some of their boys were disengaged from academic work and as an experiment, he brought in a few old bikes and some tools, and suggested the boys have a go at fixing them up. The project has grown from there and is now in its third year teaching students practical skills and the value of recycling.
The Community Bikes program has been conducted from the Men’s Shed and Harvest centre in Murray St, Wonthaggi, as there was no space for them at Bass Coast Adult Education Centre in White Road, where Community VCAL is based.
VCAL co-ordinators Jo Beasley (pictured far left) and Deb Morris (front row, second from right), and BCAEC manager Nola Holford (far right) agreed the ideal arrangement would be for the Community Bikes project to have a shed at BCAEC. However, funding was tight and neither organisation could afford to build the shed themselves. So Ms Holford applied to the Commonwealth Bank Community Grants program and was successful in obtaining the $9,889 grant for which BCAEC and VCAL are most grateful.
The bike restoration project has been inundated with donations of parts and materials. So far, students have restored over 60 bicycles which the students can then use as their own, or donate back to the community. Over 20 students have participated so far and the shed which will be built with the Commonwealth Bank Community Grant funds will give the project scope to help many more.