In March 2017 we (an ex teacher, an ex-charity worker, a carpenter and 2 engineers) raised funds and bought an old horse box, a basic set of bike maintenance tools, folding tables and a tent. Cogges Farm in Witney kindly allowed us to set up in one of their fields.
With the help of trained mechanics, volunteers refurbish donated bikes which are either given to someone who needs one or sold to keep the workshop running. In our first year we:
- worked with vulnerable people providing a friendly and safe space to learn skills and socialise in a working environment;
- delivered 4 Build-a-Bike courses for disadvantaged young people;
- engaged with over 160 men and 100 women helping them to fix their bikes or providing a recycled bike for sale;
- clocked over 780 hours of volunteer time recycling old bikes;
- saved over 400kg of bikes from being scrapped since January 2018;
- taken in 120 bikes and refurbished 105;
- given away 13 bikes to school children from low income families;
- trained over 566 children from primary and secondary schools to ride safely and confidently on todays roads.
“The bike project has allowed me to work with all kinds of bikes, given me the opportunity to practice in a real life situation and helped me to gain more confidence in my skills and abilities whilst allowing me to meet some amazing people” Youth Volunteer
‘It benefits my own mental well-being. Working with my hands is important, psychologically, to me and helps, somehow, to make some of my other stress easier. It is work, but without being like work. I have seen people so grateful for what seems a simple task to me, it is very rewarding. I get to learn from the other mechanics, I get to share my experience. It is a lovely inclusive, good natured undertaking’.
‘Friendliness and welcome, grace and patience! Knowledge and skill. Continued support for families with little finance’. Quote from Syrian Refugee living in Witney.
It soon become clear that the horse box and then small shed we used at Cogges were not big enough. After a long search we found the perfect location for the project - a flexible industrial unit, accessible on public transport, with enough space for multiple work stations and bike storage.
Moving into this space will not only enable us to better cater for our more vulnerable clients; we will be able to be open longer hours, run events, courses and provide services that will help to make us financially sustainable in the longer term (bike repair, bike maintenance courses, corporate days, Duke of Edinburgh skills training).
We need your help with the costs of moving and setting up our new workshop at 152b Corn Street. This includes: making sure the electrics are safe, setting up phone lines and internet, making the building accessible, painting and furnishing and buying work stations, and, most importantly, lots of exciting bike maintenance tools enabling us to do a better job (the wheel building jig is the most eagerly awaited). We also need to keep our band of amazing volunteers fed and watered throughout the process.
Workshop tools and equipment - £1,000
Moving costs - £250
Electrics and heating - £885
Admin and communications set up - £365
Contribution to rent - £500
TOTAL - £3,000
We are passionate about keeping bikes on the road for as long as possible and reducing waste when repairing them. Tyres and inner tubes are the hardest bike parts to recycle, so Will (who has a solution to every problem) came up with these. Only five in the world so far and you can bag yourself one if you pledge £50.
A must have for autumn 2018 - keeps the sun out of your eyes and tells the world about your favourite bike project!
Two heads are always better than one. We have a range of rewards that will help you to get to know your bike and how to keep it on the road.
Whatever your age, if you are just learning to cycle or want to gain confidence - time with a trained cycle instructor can really make the difference. Bag yourself an hour with this great reward!