The Bike Project is a community of refugees, cyclists, mechanics and volunteers. The mission is simple: to take second hand bikes, fix them up and give them to refugees.
It was founded when the CEO, Jem, gave his brother’s old bike to a mentee at university, who happened to be a refugee, and saw how much it helped him. The idea then grew into matching discarded and unused bikes with those who really needed them. So, in 2013 The Bike Project was born in London.
Following the increasing demand nationwide for bikes, it was decided to expand into another city and so The Bike Project West Midlands was opened in May 2019 and is based at The Old Print Works in Balsall Heath.
Asylum seekers are not allowed to work and have £38 a week to live on. A daily bus ticket coasts £4, so 5 days travel would only leave £18 a week. Therefore, one thing that The Bike Project does is allow people to save on public transport expenditure.
Secondly, there is the joy of cycling for exercise, mental health and simply pleasure. It has been well documented how good cycling is for health: another vital reason for The Bike Project to operate. Schemes they run include cycle tuition (for Refugee women) and pairing beneficiaries with local cyclists(Bike Buddies) which further helps build community – again good for mental health. community.
Also, we know at Friends of the Earth that too much is simply discarded or thrown away. The Bike Project helps reduce that by taking items that can commonly be found rusting in a garden or abandoned in a garage and turning them back into useable and useful modes of transport.
Since being in Birmingham, it has given out over 300 bikes to refugees, which means not only is that 300 more people cycling but 300 bikes saved from the landfill!
Not only is The Bike Project doing all of the above, but it is also a Living Wage Employer and takes the mental health of its employees and volunteers very seriously. Showing that it IS possible to be both socially and environmentally aware as well as being good employers.
Birmingham Friends of the Earth are holding a drop off point for any old bikes on XXXXXXXXX simply bring your old bike to The Warehouse and it will be taken from there.
For more information on The Bike Project look at: thebikeproject.co.uk/