The Full Cycle Bicycle Project CIC is currently located at The Circulatory in Berrylands, which is also the home to the Save the World Club. Since the project started earlier this year, and due to Coronavirus, I have been dedicating most of my time on building bicycles to sell to anybody and everybody who needs them due to the huge demand for bicycles in the Borough, and Nationwide. This need has grown exponentially due to Coronavirus and the directive from the Government for people to seek alternative modes of transport both for commuting but also for health and wellbeing. This is a need that I believe has always existed and will continue to exist, and in fact grow even more. The bicycle gives people an environmentally friendly way to travel and the positive physical and mental health benefits are well documented.
This need very much exists with those on low incomes, who are refugees, or are marginalised by society and maybe don't have the same access to things that could give so much benefit to their lives, such as a bicycle. An example of this is my connection with Refugee Action Kingston, who purchase refurbished bikes from the project to then provide refugees with an essential means of travel, e.g. to get to job interviews.
In the near future, and with measures in place with regards to Coronavirus, I would like to start doing bike maintenance sessions for people to fix their own bicycles, assisted by myself. These would be charged for but subsidised for those who cannot afford it. I would also like to offer bicycle maintenance training for people from all backgrounds, again subsidised for those who would need help to pay for this, but would equally reap the benefits.
I would also like to take on volunteers and paid trainees who would become integral to the project. They would gain a huge amount of knowledge and experience in return for their work, which would be hugely beneficial to the operating of the project. Plus they would also gain the benefits of social inclusion and social interaction, mixing with and learning from others. I have first hand experience of this and how powerful this can be from working and volunteering at the previous Eco-Op project in Kingston and other projects in other parts of London. This fits in with Social Prescribing that has become a very important part of the Boroughs approach to solving wide ranging mental health issues.
For all of this to happen I need to primarily be able to subsidise the activities. I also need to purchase bicycle parts, although as much as possible I use second hand parts from donated bicycles that are not good enough to rebuild as part of the projects recycling ethos. There are also other necessary outgoings including but not limited to, premises rental charges, and the day-to-day costs of running a bike workshop, as well as the urgent need to employ local bike mechanics and/or trainees, to enable the delivery of the bike workshops and maintenance sessions as well as to assist me with the bike building, to meet the huge bike demand. The grant would be crucial to help pay for all of these things.
I want to be able to help to meet the constant demand of those looking to buy a bike. Not everyone can afford a brand new bike from a bike shop, so I also want to be in the financial position to offer low cost or fully subsidised bicycles to people who are on low or no income and who would otherwise not be able to afford to buy/maintain a bicycle.
As a Cytech trained mechanic, I also want to offer bicycle maintenance training to people from Social Care backgrounds, and also give the opportunity to people from all backgrounds to access my workshop facilities to fix and maintain their bicycles and learn how to do so for themselves. I have reached out to people in the local area to gauge interest in this, and I have an interest list of just under 100 people!
There is a huge need for the project to exist, which has become evident through my experience of working in the sector in the Kingston Borough for the past 6 years, and also from the conversations I have had with people either directly or those who are working for my partner organisations, i.e. Kingston Refugee Action, KCAH (Kingston Churches Action On Homelessness), The Big House Theatre Company, The Rise Cafe as well as others.