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Dan's Trainee Challenge: Supporting victims of modern slavery 

Dan Tredget supported charity Ride for Freedom's efforts to break the cycle of modern slavery

A Willmott Dixon management trainee has transformed a shipping container into a bicycle workshop to support the Ride for Freedom charity, which donates bikes to survivors of modern slavery.

Dan Tredget, of the London and East team, led the project to create a maintenance hub for local company, Vandome Cycles, who maintain the bikes for Ride for Freedom, offer training and support cycling in the wider community.

The bespoke Biking Becontree Container offers a dedicated space to service the bikes donated by Ride for Freedom. And Vandome Cycles will also host regular ‘Dr Bike’ maintenance sessions to help the wider community in the Borough of Barking and Dagenham.

Ride for Freedom harnesses the universal appeal of cycling to raise awareness, educate and forge partnerships to end modern slavery. Through their Freewheel Hubs, like the one in Barking & Dagenham, the charity provides bikes and training so survivors can enjoy the sense of freedom that cycling brings.

Bike Hut cutting the ribbon mid.jpg

Part of the Willmott Dixon Trainee Challenge, Dan’s project started with £500 of seed money and the challenge to manage a worthwhile project that makes a positive impact. Dan saw how Ride for Freedom’s work align closely with the Building Lives theme of the Now or Never strategy and reached out to help before drafting in help from 15 WD volunteers to fit out the container as a community bike workshop.

Dan said: “Ride for Freedom did not have a set location for the maintenance of the bikes they donate to take place, and their partner Vandome Cycles hold sessions for the public where they answer questions and fix bikes under a gazebo.

"With the container now a permanent fixture in Becontree, Vandome Cycles will be more effective at supporting the community and Ride for Freedom now have the opportunity to train a bike mechanic at the location.”

Bike Hut Dan Tredget mid.jpg

The project was realised with support from BeFirst, who helped to obtain permissions for and arranged power supply to the container, which was supplied by Algeco.

The groundworks were completed by Barking & Dagenham Council with support from BeFirst, Avi lined the container with ply and insulation, and MEP (Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing) contractor LJJ fitted it out with lights and power. Racks used inside were supplied by Wilson James with striking artwork for the exterior supplied by a local student artist, Emmanuel Oreyani.