The Bike Project, a Southwark-based charity giving free bikes to London’s refugees and asylum seekers, has received £106,000 to hire more staff and improve access to key services.
The money came from City Bridge Trust, the City of London Corporation’s charitable funder, and will help the charity expand in response to rising demand.
The Bike Project fixes up second hand bikes and gives them to refugees living in the capital. Since it started in 2013, the organisation has donated over 5,500 bikes, and this year alone has given out 1,500.
According to the bike project, refugees and asylum seekers are accessing new and vital support services up to four times a week extra, thanks to their new transport, while the number which reported never accessing them halved after receiving a bike.
Dhruv Patel, Chairman of the City Bridge Trust Committee, said: “This charity is giving refugees and asylum seekers the resourced needed to access key services as they start their new lives in the UK. Without access to transport, these people would struggle to fully integrate into society and become part of this community.
“This is a very innovative and unique charity that has proven successful from the outset. It’s found a niche for support and is really transforming lives. We are proud to partner with The Bike Project to tackle disadvantage and inequality in London, and we will continue to support charities in making the capital a better place in which to live.”
In 2016 City Bridge Trust awarded The Bike Project £40,000 to expand their online bike social enterprise, resulting in the hire of a new staff member, website improvements and increased turnover and profit. The Bike Project then went on the raise the social investment it needed from several high net worth individuals.
Nicola Hill, National Operations Manager at The Bike Project, added: “This is a pivotal time of growth for The Bike Project as we experience greater demand for our services than ever before. This funding enables us to scale up our bike donations and volunteering opportunities so that we can reach more refugees than ever before, whilst growing our social enterprise to ensure long-term sustainability.”
Saving bicycles from landfills and promoting reuse and recycling is another of the organisation’s key objectives.