An Mheitheal Rothar has announced that it is expanding its bicycle recycling initiative at its community workshop at University of Galway and its retail outlet at Galway Shopping Centre.
The award-winning social enterprise based in Galway city provides access to cycling and cycling mechanic skills training to people, regardless of their ability to pay.
In 2018, six years after its foundation, An Mheitheal Rothar introduced the ‘Recycle Your Cycle’ initiative which repairs and upcycles second-hand bikes.
An Mheitheal Comhashaol Cooperative, trading as An Mheitheal Rothar, accessed a bridging loan from Community Finance Ireland (CFI) which has helped them expand in Galway.
The all-island social finance provider supports community projects that drive social impact through sports, the arts, faith-based groups and social enterprises.
Cathy Coote, Fundraising and Communications Officer at An Mheithal Comhashaol Co-Op, said the CFI funding has been critical to expand and upscale their offering to the local community in Galway.
“Community Finance Ireland is helping us grow our social enterprise in Galway. A term loan is enabling us to invest in new bike stock, helping us offer more bikes to people in Galway from our bike shop,” she said.
“The funds we generate support our work, such as providing free second-hand bikes for students studying under the University of Sanctuary programme as well as repairs, free training and upcycled bikes to people interested in cycling for health, transport and sustainability.”
Since 2016, CFI has provided €500,000 in social finance loans to projects based in Galway.
Client Relationship Manager for Connacht and Donegal, Anne Graham, says there is huge potential for others in Galway to follow in AMR’s footsteps.
“It’s fantastic to see AMR growing to meet the demand in their local community and for that growth to be sustainable.
“Like AMR, Community Finance Ireland is a social enterprise – all the repayments made on social finance loans go right back into supporting another community group either here in Galway or across the country.
“In that sense, our social finance loans aren’t dissimilar to the circular economy which AMR support.
“We’re delighted to be helping people in Galway get on their bikes, which will in turn help us support a local GAA club in Donegal or a Family Recourse Centre in Mayo.”