Cyclists in the province of Groningen are being urged to have a pre-Christmas clean-out and donate their unwanted bikes to Ukrainian refugees, RTV Noord reports.
Second-hand bikes can now be dropped off at former Nescio Hotel’s building where a group of Ukrainian guests are currently residing.
“We are looking for women’s bicycles and bikes for children so that they can ride to their school in Groningen,” says Willemijn Kemp, a volunteer who launched the appeal and who coordinates the donations.
Ms Kemp, who has been helping the Ukrainians for some time now, distributes the bikes among refugees who struggle to afford other forms of transport.
Having a bike can help a guest get to crucial appointments, travel to language classes, visit friends and save them costs of bus tickets.
There are already many bicycles parked behind the Nescio building, yet more are needed, Ms Kemp says. “There are a lot of people who leave; and when they do so, they take their bikes with them,” she explains. “Those who arrive in their stead, need bikes. Besides, some of the bicycles we had distributed in the past were stolen. The increased mobility that a bike brings can be life changing.”
Life changing gift
One of the Ukrainian refugees given a bike was Tatiana who used it to travel to work and her Dutch language school in Groningen.
Tatiana said: “Now I understand how useful it is to have a bike, because when you do, you are more flexible and can organize your own time better.”
Ms Kemp says they still need at least 20 adult-size bikes, 10 more bikes for teenagers and the same number of kids’ bikes.
Those wishing to donate a bike can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm a drop-off time. The scheme is looking for bicycles in good working order. Some of the bikes will be given to Ukrainian refugees in Onnen and Winschoten.