A new group has been set up to replace the popular Blacon Furniture Project which had to cease trading at the end of last year.

Chester Used Furniture Enterprise (CUFE) is based in the former library building on Western Avenue in Blacon and is now selling reconditioned bicycles as well as second hand furniture.

Volunteering as part of CUFE, a bike recycling project team has been successfully reconditioning donated bikes for the last few months but, due to demand, is now looking for more support.

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CUFE manager Pam Bleasdale said: “We have been so pleased with the demand shown so far for our recycled bikes. Every bike we have reconditioned has been sold within a week of being in our shop. The problem now is that we need more bikes and more volunteers to help the business grow.”

Since the project started, a team of four local volunteers have spent time each week in the well-equipped workshop reconditioning the bikes that have been donated so far.

The project aims to fix one to four bikes per week dependant on the condition of donated bikes and volunteers’ time and to take advantage of the early summer growth in demand.

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It is intended to recruit a part-time experienced bike mechanic as the project manager to help double the number of bikes fixed and to increase the maintenance and training opportunities for local people.

“We have learned a lot from Christian Concern, a furniture reuse organisation in Crewe, who run a similar bike recycling project,” says Naomi Graham, who is employed by the Cheshire Furniture Reuse Forum.

“The team in Crewe has been going for five years now and their business has gone from strength to strength, so we know the business model can work.

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“I have started contacting major local employees to ask them to advertise our need for bikes and volunteers within their organisation and we hope this may also attract some financial support as well.”

With support of local partners and interest groups, the team in Blacon also plan to initiate other activities in the local area to promote cycling as a low cost and healthy means of transport for work and recreation.

If you can help support the project in any way, but in particular with the offer of a bike or time, please contact chesterusedfurnitureenterprise@gmail.com.