Access to a working bicycle has a big impact on day to day life for refugees in Calais. Visiting the distribution centre or the government office to check on an asylum application is at least a 5 mile round trip, which on foot can easily take 2 hours.
We're planning to take reconditioned bicycles and bike parts along with a small team of bike mechanics across to Calais for 5 days. The plan is to increase the number of refugees who have access to a bike, contribute to the aid work already taking place and support the bike repair workshop sessions with our mechanics. We'll also be taking some very tough bikes to leave with NGO's and volunteer teams working in Calais to help them in their work.
Who are we?
This crowdfunding campaign is coming from a collective of people working in bike recycling projects in the UK including Bicycle Links in Norwich and The Bike Project in London. Among the collective are people with experience of the refugee situation in Calais and an a huge amount of bike fixing and recycling wisdom.
Raising £800 will mean the following is possible:
- 1 x long wheelbase van full of stuff will travel from Norwich to Calais to deliver the aid
- If use of a van is donated then we'll use the money allocated for this to buy additional tools and bike parts to donate
- 3 x experienced bike mechanics will spend 5 days supporting bike repair sessions and the distribution centre
- At least 30 x bicycles, reconditioned by UK's bike projects, will be distributed to Calais refugees
- 2 x reconditioned postal bikes (pictured below) for NGO's and volunteer teams in Calais
- Boxes of tools, bike spares and part will be donated to the bike repair workshop which supports refugees with bikes
What if we exceed our target?
If we excess our crowdfunding target by less than £800 we will increase the number of reconditioned postal bikes (pictured above) for NGO's and volunteer teams in Calais. If your support exceeds £800 we will take a second van allowing us to take at least 60 bike donations to Calais along with an additional 3 cycle machanics, bike parts and tools.
Can I donate a bike, tools or parts?
We would really value any donations of bikes, tools or bike parts! We will however only be able to collect them from the following community cycling organisations who have generously offered to be drop off points:
- Norwich - Bicycle Links on King Street
- London - Contact Claire at The Bike Project: claire [at] thebikeproject.co.uk
- Sheffield - ReCycle Bikes have generously offered to receive donations at both their sites. Opening times on their website.
- Oxford - Broken Spoke Bike Co-op have generously offered to be a drop off point for donations of bike parts and tools. They don't have room to take bikes. Check their website for opening times.
If you are not in these areas but have a community cycling organisation that recycles bikes near you, why not look up what they do! They'll probably be really grateful for your donation to support them in their local work.
The trip is currently planned for Wednesday 11th to Monday 16th November 2015.
This is a crowdfunding campaign about two journeys:
1. All money donated will be used to take reconditions bikes, cycle mechanics and bikes parts out to Calais. This will make the 5 mile round trip from 'the jungle' into the town centre to visit the asylum office and distribution hub easier for the refugees currently living there. If we exceed our £800 target, we'll be able to take more vans, mechanics and bicycle aid out, increasing our impact.
2. Successful funding of this bicycle aid crowdfunding campaign will communicate to us that the cycling community in the UK is keen to reach out to the refugees in Europe to offer bicycle aid. This will encourage us in our journey as we explore creating a more sustainable network offering regular trips delivering bicycle aid, bike mechanic skills and tools to areas of need. If you donate to this campaign, in return we'd like to invite you to be a part of founding and shaping this UK bicycle aid network.
There are a dedicated group of charities and organisations working hard to deal with the refugee situation in Calais. It's important that any aid being offered is done with the knowledge and advice of these experts on the ground, ideally through their distribution systems. At the end of August we were part of a group of over 100 cyclists who rode from London to Calais to deliver bicycles aid to the camp in Calais, and this second trip will be planned with the experience from that first trip in mind.
If you donate
We took the decision to reward you with items that aren't material objects. With this campaign focused on getting aid to people with so little, we wanted to reward you with things that have personal value through acknowledgement and involvement. If you donate we'd like to acknowledge your contribution in four ways:
- An acknowledgement on our website (your name and where you're from)
- A thank you tweet from the @BicycleAid twitter account, mentioning your twitter account
- An invitation to a contributors event to share experiences and discuss future ideas
- A personal invite to be a founding member of a new bicycle aid network, if this campaign shows us there is a desire for such a group to be formed
Interested in exactly where how the money is spent?
We'll document where every penny went on this Google Document HERE.
Interested to know the numbers and impact following the trip?
We'll document how many bikes, bikes parts and tools we take out, along with how many hours of cycle maintenance we deliver and how many refugees we benefited, on this Google Document HERE.
Follow our progress and get updates when we're in Calais
Thank you for looking at our crowdfunding campaign page. If you have any questions about the campaign or aid trip please don't hesitate to message us.
Special thanks is due to the following people and organisation for their support
Bicycle Links CIC is a community bike project based in Norwich. They have been hugely generous though being a location for receiving bike donated for the trip and offering volunteer time to help renovate the bikes we'll be taking out to Calais.
The Bike Project is a social enterprise whose mission is to get refugees cycling. They renovate used bikes for people who have been granted asylum in London. Their offer to be a donation point for London is hugely appreciated. We are very luck to have Claire with all her the wisdom and experience joining us during our time in Calais.
To everyone who made the Bikes Beyond Border - Critical Mass to Calais possible and everyone who took part in the ride. Without this first trip and the inspiring people who were a part of it, this second trip would not have been even thought about let alone possible.
CalAid and Secours Catholique work tirelessly providing aid to the refugees in Calais. We will be communicating closely with both of these charities and hope that the mechanics will support them in their work during their five day visit.