Earlier this year, as part of the Toyota Red Nose Day initiative, we were put in touch with a local charity, Kids Kabin, who run creative activities for young people aged 8-13 years old across Newcastle. Their hubs are creative workshops where local kids can take part in the likes of woodwork, cookery, glasswork and, (arguably) most importantly of all, bike repairs! In keeping with the bike theme of this article, the Kabin team also have a fleet of mobile workshops propelled along by bicycles - their pedalling convoy includes a mobile kitchen, pottery wheel, wood-carving bench and smoothie maker - which they take out for street sessions around the local area. If you see them around in future, don't forget to say 'hello'.
As for where Hodgson fits in to all this, we visited Kids Kabin earlier in the year and took away one of the their classic Post Office bikes (with consent, of course). We then sent it over to the PDI Centre where Neil Henderson, Centre Manager, and his team stripped everything back and gave it a fancy new paint job, along with adding new tyres and inner tubes kindly donated by Halfords of Kingston Park. We also managed to secure the charity £1950 in funding from Toyota’s Fund for Tomorrow which has been used to help buy and maintain equipment for spraying the children’s and the centres' bikes. Always ones willing to get more involved, a select Hodgson team has also been running a 3 week course, during October, teaching kids how to restore and maintain bicycles. Of course, this has meant we've needed supplies and Hodgson Toyota’s partners have duly obliged, with Fleet Factors providing paints, primers and lacquers free of charge!
Speaking on the success of the burgeoning partnership between Hodgson Toyota and the charity, Toyota Centre Principal David Lowes has said there’s more to come - “the real success here has been getting the kids involved in a process. This hasn’t just been a partnership about giving something and then taking a step back, we’re involved in teaching real skills to children; there is little more valuable than that, as we’re helping to instil positive values within the future of our community. The work Kids Kabin do needs to be shouted far and wide, they do a tremendous job giving opportunities to kids to learn or do something they may never have come across before. We’re delighted to say this is just the beginning of our partnership and I, for one, can’t wait for future projects to come to fruition”.
Will Benson, Kids Kabin Manager, shared the enthusiasm and spoke (no pun intended) highly of our work “the collaboration between Hodgson Toyota and the charity is going from strength-to-strength. The Hodgson team have set up a number of training sessions in October to teach our children to respray bikes, and they can then go on to pass these new skills on to other children. This is a really exciting project and the demand will be massive when we start telling more kids about it! We're always looking for new and exciting projects to run from our street trailer workshops and this funding will help us develop new ideas and take these projects into new communities”.