Local Lad Ant Edler
by Stephanie Williams
Where in Hobart do you live? Risdon Vale
Why Hobart? I love the outdoors and there is so much on your doorstep in Hobart. Also it is where my community is – family, church and friends.
Tell us a little about your work? I am a youth worker and have run youth programs for nearly 20 years. Out of that experience I’ve founded the Tasmanian Bike Collective which uses bikes as the medium to connect, mentor and develop work skills with at risk young people.
How does Tas Bike Collective help the community? Since we started using bikes as a way of mentoring and building skills, we have worked with nearly 600 young people, with many stories of young people re-engaging with education, building the confidence to apply for their first job and developing positive relationship in their communities. For varied reasons, a lot of students struggle at school but we found those same students thrive when given an opportunity in a hands on, smaller and supported group environment. Over the past 15 years we have restored nearly 2000 bikes with half of those given away, the other half sold to help fund our programs. We have facilitated teenagers building mountain bike tracks and a skills park, taken young people to places they have never been before and even entered races for the first time. We have sat around campfires and talked about becoming an adult, about mental health challenges and what is to be a good mate. One of the things I enjoy the most is seeing something click for the first time for a young person. It might be a realisation that someone will pay money for work they have done or that they can help someone else by fixing their bike and they see how thankful that person is. Or it might be using our rewards scheme to earn their own bike for the first time, one they have chosen and worked towards over many weeks. We now operate two programs, in Risdon Vale and Huonville, with a third one starting in 2022, with the vision of seeing a whole network of Collective’s around Tasmania.
What do you love doing outside work? Hanging out with family and friends (got to say that first, right?), riding the mountain bike, fishing, anything that gets me outdoors, volunteering at my local fire brigade.
Who do you admire? I admire people who commit to making our world a better place, especially in small unrecognised ways. For example, in 2017 I was awarded the Tasmanian Local Hero and got to go to Canberra and meet a whole bunch of people from all around Australia. They were all doing incredible things and never before or since have I been in a room with so many people all doing stuff I really admired and respected.
Favourite podcast or tv show? I’m a bit of a fan of most of the Marvel movies/shows.
Secret vice? Binge watching or reading. I have had too many late nights watching or reading well past when I should have.
What are you reading now? Fiction – David Baldacci (crime novels) Non-fiction – You Think I’m Evil by David Taransaud (practical strategies for working with aggressive and rebellious teenagers)
What was your first job? It was umpiring indoor beach volleyball then delivering pizzas
What are your daily news/social media habits? Sitting on the bus or toilet scrolling news apps and Facebook.
Your favourite place for…
Breakfast: Home – nothing like a home cooked hot breakfast.
Lunch: Pub lunch at the New Sydney Hotel.
Dinner: The Winston, Love the food and beer plus my son loves the arcade games.
Favourite team? Hawthorn – I remember watching the 89” grand final and have been a fan ever since. Also looking forward to a return of a Hobart NBL team, I grew up going and watching the Devils play and was a basketball tragic for many years growing up.
Favourite Hobart secret? Risdon Vale – a suburb with a bad rep but I’ve had the best neighbours of anywhere I’ve lived, full of people who really look out for each other. I’m on a first name basis at all the local shops and services and only 15 minutes from the middle of the city. An example of this is Tony at the local servo, who collects small model cars, gave my son all his “seconds” because he knows he loves playing with them.