Last modified on Fri 15 Nov 2019 10.20 GMT
“We noticed people were walking three hours to come to us, to see friends, to go to college, to do voluntary work,” says James Lucas, co-founder of the Bristol Bike Project. “It can take it out of you if you are doing that every day. If you are used to just having money for a bus, or you have a car or are used to having your own bike, you can take that mobility for granted.”
The not-for-profit cooperative’s Earn-a-Bike programme has been repairing abandoned or unwanted bicycles for the most vulnerable members of society for 10 years. Now, though, the project faces an existential threat. The owner of the 1970s office block Hamilton House in Stokes Cross, where it has been based since the beginning, are looking to redevelop the space.
- Left: Vicky, who credits the bike project with helping her turn her life around
“It’s generally people with long-term physical or mental health issues, people who are long-term unemployed, it can be people in recovery programmes, people who are homeless and living in sheltered housing,” says community coordinator Krysia Williams. “There is an endless number of reasons why people might come to us. We take it on trust whether people think they are eligible for our programmes.”
Vicky was referred to the Bristol Bike Project through one of 50 local organisations. She moved to Bristol this year and says the project helped her find a new network of friends after years of social isolation, struggling with PTSD and living in sheltered housing for recovering drug users.
“I wouldn’t have been able to go to the Recovery Toolkit [a programme for people with experience of domestic abuse] without it,” she says. “There wasn’t a bus [that went] there. Cycling there was just great mental and physical health exercise. The bike was the one thing that saved me.
‘The bike saved me’: cycling project for vulnerable people under threat | The Guardian
Last modified on Fri 15 Nov 2019 10.20 GMT “We noticed people were walking three hours to come to us, to see friends, to go to college, to do voluntary work,” says James Lucas, co-founder of the Bristol Bike Project. “It can take it out of you if you are doing that every day. If… [Read More]