During Refugee Week Norwich 2023 (19 - 25 June) we want to raise money to get as many new citizens of Norwich on two wheels as possible!
Together we will provide refurbished second-hand bicycles, helmets, locks, lights and cycle training, to newly resettled refugees and asylum seekers in Norwich.
We're asking you to donate a bike, or a lock or a helmet and lights to asylum seekers and refugees referred by our partners... All you have to do is make a pledge and we'll do the rest!
Getting to English classes, picking up the kids from school, or volunteering, all require transport. Daily tasks that we might take for granted, such a nipping to the shops or meeting up with friends, can be almost impossible for someone who has arrived in a new country, with such limited resources to even pay for bus fares.
Asylum seekers are not allowed to work and receive just £45 per week for food, clothing, hygiene products and travel. When people seeking asylum arrive in Norwich they often find themselves alone, with little or no support, and with only the most basic government provision; many children and young people seeking asylum have arrived in the UK without their families. Many are currently housed in hotels on the outskirts of the city, facing a long journey to reach facilities. While building lives in Norwich the people we support must adapt to a new culture and learn English, as well as often managing mental and physical health issues.
Welcome Wheels recipient, Rosa
What are the benefits of the Welcome Wheels project?
Cycling is convenient and virtually free to do. A bike can transform someone’s life and unlock their new city. It can get you to the community centre where you can meet friends and receive support, to the college where you can take English lessons and to the countryside for some fresh air and different views. It can carry small children and baggage, and keeps you fit and healthy at the same time! All you need is a bike, and a little bit of training.
Cycling can reduce social isolation by enabling people to get to where their friends/community are. When people feel healthy and independent, their confidence grows and they are more likely to actively participate in the community, such as through volunteering or helping others who are new to the city.
Welcome Wheels recipient collecting bike from Bicycle Links
Who are we?
We are a coalition of three charities and one non-profit bike shop (New Routes Integration, English+, and Norwich International Youth Project, alongside Bicycle Links CIC). We work closely together to help refugees, asylum seekers and isolated migrants settle in Norwich, aiming to provide a welcoming community, the skills necessary to start a new life in the UK, and the means to get around.
Since 2018 we have provided over 350 bikes to asylum seekers and refugees from the ages of 6 to 60 but we are running out of money and we need your help! We know that this project transforms people’s lives in Norwich while they are waiting for a decision from the Home Office or are settling into the city.
Welcome Wheels Refugee Week ride-out 2019
How does it work?
This Refugee Week we're asking you to fundraise for or donate a bike, a lock, a helmet or cycle training for participants referred by the three charity partners. All you have to do is make a pledge and we'll do the rest.
Are you a member of a cycling club, a sports group or a school team? Why not set yourself a collective Refugee Week fundraising challenge (cycle, run, walk, swim)?
What will your donation provide?
- £15: a strong shackle bicycle lock – also known as a ‘D’ lock
- £45: helmet and a set of lights
- £60: a bike lock, helmet and a set of lights
- £100: half a bicycle!
- £200: one refurbished bike – one second hand bike that has been fully repaired and refurbished with new parts, including mudguards and good quality tyres
- £260: the full package – a bicycle, lights, helmet, lock and cycle training session. Everything an individual needs to be mobile!
- £400: two bikes! What’s better than a bike? Two bikes! We have lots of refugees and asylum seekers waiting for a bike so if you can fund two bikes, that’s twice as nice!
Norwich has a long history of welcoming people from other lands. There are around 150 asylum seekers dispersed to the city at any one time, and around 75 unaccompanied asylum seeking children. Norwich is currently home to refugees and asylum seekers from well over 50 countries. Many people choose to stay in Norwich once they receive their status as they find it a friendly and manageable city to put down roots in.
We want to be able to provide every asylum seeker and newly arrived refugee in Norwich with a fixed-up bike, safety lights and helmet, the skills to upkeep their own bike and, if needed, cycle proficiency training.
Help us to get Welcome Wheels moving forward!
Finally, some words from those who’ve received Welcome Wheels bikes in the past:
“It makes me feel happy because otherwise I sit at home. It gives me an independent feeling.”
“Cycling gives me more motivation and helps me to get around. Having a bike has made my life easier, if I have to be somewhere, I can bike there’
“Having a bike means I can exercise and save money. I can get to more places rather than stay at home”
“It's good for seeing friends, exploring Norwich, seeing nice places. It's much quicker in traffic than the bus and it's good for exercise.”
“It keeps me fit, and I can go somewhere at any time I want - going places is much easier by bike, I don't need to wait at a bus stop. It has made me see new places in Norwich.”
“The bike has given me more independence to travel around. It has allowed me to go shopping for my family and to go to school independently”
“It's easier to travel around the city than before. It's better than relying on buses, especially for getting to places where there is no bus route, for example going to football. Having a bike has allowed me to feel more connected to other people, as it is easier to visit them if I want. I use my bike often to go visit my friends. It has given me more freedom. I really like cycling and I like my bike.”