Shetland Community Bike Project’s new base in Lerwick was declared officially open today by isles MP Alistair Carmichael.
The project and shop, which provides therapeutic employment for people with mental health, drug or alcohol-related problems, moved to its current site at 16-18 Commercial Road in May and since then has enjoyed quite a busy period thanks to its roomier premises.
The bike project, which currently employs five people full-time as well as various other volunteers and part-time clients, had worked out of Peterson’s Kloss in the town centre since it opened in 1999, but the shop there proved too small for the amount of bike repairs and renovations being carried out.
Now there is has ample room, with a shop where the bikes and eco-products are sold, a workshop and store in the basement for the mechanical work involved, and offices.
Project manager Caroline Adamson said the new premises, which formerly housed an agricultural shop and latterly Imelda’s shoe shop, were “fantastic.”
She said: “It’s been good. Since we’ve opened the door we’ve had a footfall of around 1,200 folk, and we had 65 in one day.”
She said the current shop has allowed the project to branch out into other eco products, such as Enviroglass, which can be used in paths and gardens; compost bins and leaflets on how to reduce waste and be more environmentally friendly.
Mrs Adamson said: “The extra space is unbelievable, it’s just been fantastic.”
Cutting the ribbon, Mr Carmichael gave his apologies for MSP Tavish Scott who had originally been selected for the job.
He said: “It’s a project that we’ve both been aware of for some time and that we’re both very much in support of. It’s a good example of a community built project that allows people who need help to get it.
“The premises and location are now of a quality that matches the quality of the work that the project does, and the presence of so many people here today is testament to the support for the project, and I hope that that support continues.”