Ballarat police are lending a helping hand to a program developing skills and providing transportation to the community.
Seven bikes have been donated by the police to the ReCranked program being run out of the Sebastopol YMCA.
The program takes in damaged or unwanted bikes from around the community, repairs them and donates them to people who need transportation.
Leading Senior Constable Brendan Everard said the program has positive aspects for all members of the community.
“There are a lot of winners here,” he told The Courier.
Constable Everard also pointed towards the developmental benefits the program has for youths involved.
“They tinker with bikes, some damaged and some not damaged which leads to skill development, peer association and a sense of worth out of the program.”
These sentiments were echoed by Wallace Martin, the program’s coordinator.
“When a bike comes in that's totally wrecked, they can work on it and get it up to roadworthy condition, they can see they've achieved something,” he said.
“Seeing the development is fantastic, I remember a time where Nathan (a young volunteer) threw a bike across the shed because he was frustrated he couldn't fix a puncture, now he's our chief puncture fixer.”
Nathan Maher, 17, has been involved with the program for six years and says he loves it.
“I like fixing the bikes and helping out people who need it,” he said with a big smile on his face.
His father Nevil Maher said the program had been great for Nathan, helping him in many aspects of his day-to-day life.
“His confidence is the biggest thing we’ve seen improve,” Mr Maher said.
Working with organisations like The Salvation Army, Uniting Care, FedUni as well as primary and secondary schools, Acting Inspector Liam Gardner says the ReCranked program goes a long way in keeping people on the right track.
“If we can assist getting a kid some transport through getting a bike for them through a legitimate way, that then may stop them from feeling as though they have to commit a crime to get a bike or mode of transport,” he said.