Tens of thousands of Royal Mail Bikes, destined for landfill, have been saved by an innovative idea from a Staffordshire-based charity. The Royal Mail was forced to phase out the much-loved, hand-made, British bicycles and a mountain of the iconic red bikes were due to be scrapped, until the UK charity, Krizevac Project came to the rescue.
Managing Director, Vince Owen, explained “We’ve been creating social-enterprises in Malawi since 2007, including one business refurbishing and selling old bikes to make money to run a children’s centre. We’ve shipped about 7,000 bikes to Africa so far, but could no longer afford shipping costs and we didn’t know what to do with the rest because the Royal Mail didn’t want us to sell them in the UK.”
A solution came unexpectedly from Africa, Owen explained, “Game wardens in a Malawi national park had bought half a dozen bikes to patrol the elephant fence; but when the elephants caught sight of the bright red Royal Mail colour, they charged after them!
The wardens asked us to re-spray the bikes green and this seemed to do the trick. But it gave us an idea… We asked the Royal Mail if we could re-spray their bikes green, rename them “Elephant Bikes” and for every one sold in the UK, we’d use the money to send one to Malawi.
Royal Mail loved it and, with the help of young offenders from Swinfen Hall prison, we’re giving new life to a limited edition of 5,000 of the bikes. We’ve just launched a website so people are rushing to grab a piece of British history as the iconic Royal Mail bikes have disappeared from our roads.”
Owen is enthusiastic about this “buy one give one” model, which supports vulnerable children in Malawi without asking for a penny in donations. “Our customers are getting handmade, quality, collectible bikes and the bike we give to Malawi is life-transforming, providing work and funding the children’s centre, helping to break the cycle of poverty for good!”
General Charity Details: www.krizevac.org firstname.lastname@example.org www.facebook.com/krizevacproject Charity Commission Information page for Krizevac Project Registration Number 1115608 Operational business address: Krizevac Project, Unit 1, Brookside Business Park, Brookside Road, Uttoxeter, ST14 8AU Telephone: 01543 888494