Roll for the Soul will be a community-focused bike café for Bristol. Its vision is to become the focal point for cycling in the city, celebrating and supporting our unique cycling culture. It& 39;ll be for Bristol cyclists, by Bristol cyclists, which also means trying to attract non-cyclists to show them what they& 39;re missing.
Roll for the Soul will provide quality food and drink; cycle-related events; information; sales, repairs and servicing; workshop space; and will advocate for cycling. It& 39;s a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (8205951) limited by guarantee and will use any surplus revenue to support and promote cycling in Bristol, in partnership with other social enterprises.
Sounds good? We think so, because we trialled the idea at the 2012 Bristol Cycle Festival hub café and it went down a storm. That was just one week, but what we& 39;re talking about now is the proper, permanent bike café that Bristol deserves. One that& 39;s fun, friendly and uses its profits to make life in our great city even greater.
Roll for the Soul has five core social aims.
- To provide a focal point for Bristol’s cycling community. It’ll be a place that the city’s cyclists can call their own, where they can meet, have fun and enjoy the best of Bristol’s cycling culture.
- To enable Bristol’s cycling community to be more effective through better advocacy and communication with the City Council and other bodies.
- To engage new audiences in cycling by showcasing it as fun, affordable, healthy and sustainable.
- To financially support other Bristol cycling social enterprises with surplus revenue, getting more people cycling more often and with more confidence.
- To create employment opportunities for those most in need of help to achieve social and financial inclusion, particularly former service users at The Bristol Bike Project who have gone on to develop mechanic skills as volunteers.
There’s a cycling renaissance in the UK, happening for lots of reasons (British success in pro cycling; rising fuel costs; cycling& 39;s health and environmental benefits; the fact that more are more people are simply realising that riding bikes is a lot of fun). Cycling is the new rock ‘n’ roll.
Bristol already has a strong cycling culture, but there’s no one place which acts as a focus. Roll for the Soul will be that place. The concept has grown out of Bristol Cycle Festival: one of few events which bring Bristol’s many cycling tribes together in celebration of all things bike-related. The city-centre Festival hub is open throughout Festival week and attracted more than 1,100 visitors in 2012. Roll for the Soul will fill the gap left during the other 51 weeks of the year. It will appeal to cyclists, but the atmosphere and the quality of the food and drink offer will draw in non-cyclists too. Each of these people is a potential cyclist, especially when exposed to the best of Bristol& 39;s cycling culture.
Roll for the Soul will have three areas of business: café; bike workshop; and retail.
The café will be open from breakfast to evening, serving quality Fairtrade coffee and tea, hearty food, and good beers and ciders. The café will also host cycle-related events and activities including screenings of cycle sport and films, events hosted by local cycling groups, on-road and off-road rides, and activities for kids and parents.
The workshop is central to Roll for the Soul’s social aims; getting people cycling and keeping them cycling. It& 39;ll provide the most basic puncture repairs to full servicing and customers will be offered the opportunity to get a tea or coffee and have mechanics talk through repairs as they’re carried out. The workshop will also be used for skill-share sessions and tutorials, and customers will be able to hire work stands and tools, with support from a trained mechanic. We& 39;ll work hard to be just as welcoming to new and inexperienced cyclists as to those who live to ride. No snootiness, no such thing as a stupid question, no bike-related requirement too weird.
We don’t intend to sell new bikes, but Roll for the Soul will act as a shop window for The Bristol Bike Project, selling quality refurbished bikes on its behalf. We’ll also buy and re-sell second-hand bikes and parts (if accompanied by original receipts), and will offer custom-builds using refurbished frames and parts. As well as bikes, components and accessories, we’ll sell cycling books, magazines, DVDs, artwork and casual clothes.
Business cash flow and profitability
We wouldn& 39;t ask people to help fund something that we don& 39;t believe will work as a business, so we& 39;ve developed a detailed financial model. We’d particularly like to thank Look Mum No Hands, staff from Café Kino, The Bristol Bike Project, and Jake’s Bikes for their help.
We’ve made conservative assumptions about all areas of investment and business operation, tested against other organisations& 39; figures. We’ve also made assumptions based on our experience of catering and the bike trade. These include modelling: café wastage and retail discounting; seasonality effects; depreciation; inflation; staffing levels and wage costs (we will pay all staff at least the living wage); and the split of grants vs. loans in start-up funding.
The model shows that Roll for the Soul should break even in year 1, after which reinvestment in the business and distribution of surplus revenue can begin. Once we& 39;re established we& 39;ll aim to reinvest £7,500 in the business each year; pass on £3,000 to The Bristol Bike Project; and pass on a further £3,000 to Bristol Cycle Festival. If all goes well we& 39;ll look to fund other great cycling stuff in Bristol a bit further down the line. We’ll be asking for your ideas.
Why fund Roll for the Soul?
We need to raise £90,000 to set up Roll for the Soul. At least £12,000 of that must come from crowd funding. We hope that the remainder will come from a combination of grants, personal savings and loans from individual supporters (at high-street rates). If necessary we’ll approach ethical finance institutions for loans, but we’d like to avoid this as it’s the least efficient way of raising capital.
Of the £90,000 we need, around £64,000 is for capital investment and £26,000 is working capital to see us through the first year of operation as we get established.
Crowd funding is a hugely important part of raising the money that we need. The more we can raise this way, the less we’ll need to pay back in loans and the more quickly we can start using revenue to achieve our social aims. And that’s ultimately what Roll for the Soul is about.
This means that we’d love to exceed our target. Please, please keep donating even after we reach the £12,000 target, if we’re lucky enough to do so. Every extra pound will reduce our borrowing and mean that we can do more good, more quickly.
The money that people donate through crowd funding will be used for some specific items.
- Kitchen equipment including a refurbished espresso machine, oven and hob, plus a fridge and a freezer.
- Display units for the café.
- Tables and chairs for the café.
- Two cash registers.
None of this is very glamorous, but it’s all essential to creating a place where Bristol’s cyclists and potential cyclists want to spend time. And that in turn is essential to everything that we want to achieve.
Remember that Roll for the Soul is a Community Interest Company. That means that no individual can make a profit from it. Staff (including directors) will be paid a fair but modest wage, but nobody gets anything more than that. No dividends, no bonuses, no big paydays for anyone.
If you’re interested in investing in the form of a loan rather than helping through crowd funding, please email [email protected] for more information. Or get in touch if you’d like to donate in return for something that isn’t in our rewards list (a plaque on the wall, an engraved brick, let’s talk about it!) And please keep spreading the word by directing people to this page, and the Facebook and Twitter pages.
Thank you! Let’s make something that Bristol can be proud of!