Working with partners to create places and opportunities – Bradford Capital of Cycling
MCF is a member of a coalition of community organisations which has developed and manages a city centre hub providing workshop space, cycling track, event and exhibition space, kitchen, office and bike storage.
Benefits include –
- Wider combined audience for shared aims whilst generating greater opportunities for each of the coalition members’ own beneficiaries.
- Sustainability – lowering overheads and sharing resources means grants and income can be utilised much more efficiently.
- Employability pathway – greater opportunities volunteers including an in-house job club.
Bradford Capital of Cycling coalition members are Bradford Disability Sports and Leisure, Skippko Arts, Bradford Cycling Campaign, Choices for All and Bradford Cycling Club.
MCF has been active in the hub since May 2017 and delivers drop-in bike maintenance workshops, youth mechanics program Bike to the Future (BTTF), bike recycling workshop, sales of affordable refurbished bikes, bike maintenance training and an employability pathway in partnership with In-communities Housing Association.
Drop-in ‘learn together’ workshops
In 2017 over 357 people attended weekly drop-in bike maintenance workshops, where people learn how to fix their own bikes with support from qualified mechanics.
The drop-in workshops provide a gateway to volunteering opportunities including bike recycling sessions.
RK ‘ It’s a bind not having a bike, walking long distances into town every day. I’ve needed advice and help keeping my bike on the road and the drop-in sessions are really useful with using second hand parts plus the tools here, I wouldn’t be able to afford them. It’s better they are here shared than me having to buy them all. I also come to the drop-in sessions cos it’s a friendly space and I get to meet people and socialise a bit . It’s an opportunity to get out of the flat – and I heard about the job club in the space. I’m currently unemployed and its helpful to come into the job club session with other volunteers in the same situation as me and get help with looking for work.
Bike recycling workshops
Volunteers are trained and supported to develop mechanical skills and are put through an advanced maintenance qualification awarded by Cycling UK. Volunteering can be a very positive experience with people from a diversity of backgrounds taking part in range of activities including repairing bikes, selling bikes, maintaining the Capital of Cycling and BDSL fleets and developing the workshop.
There’s currently a pool of around 20 active volunteers taking part in the recycling workshops, with a core of 5 regular volunteers most days of the week.
Over 150 bikes have been refurbished by volunteers in 2017 with sales of fleet bikes to community cycling organisations including Turning Point, Bolton Road Cycling Club, BDSL, Bradford Cycling Club, Bridge / Unity Recovery Centre, Onna Bike, Syrian Refugee Organisation and Cycling to Sanctuary.
NJ – I’m getting experience that’s useful and I’m somewhere that I feel grounded and focused and am part of a community and can contribute something. I want to be a good role model to my kids and this helps, and I want my wife to be proud of me, you know what I mean. She’s gone through a lot and we’ve gone through a lot together.
Youth projects – Bike to the Future
Bike to the Future is a youth bike mechanics and cycling project developed in partnership with Scholemoor Beacon, Fresh Start 4U, BMDC Youth Services and Bradford Youth Offending Team. Sessions are delivered at Scholemoor Beacon Community Centre, Buchan Towers and Capital of Cycling.
In 2017 over 130 young people (6-19) received a bike, helmet, lights, lock and bike maintenance training.
‘Local children living on Scholemoor have benefited tremendously through the partnership with the Margaret Carey Foundation. The skills and expertise from Margaret Carey Foundation workers and the support to our local volunteer Tony to get the project up and running has been invaluable. Other beneficiaries have been the volunteers who have become more confident and increased their skills.’ Susan Moreland, Centre Manager
‘Bike to the Future is an excellent project’ – Derek Nolan, Bradford Youth Offending Team (YOT)
‘Bradford YOT are very selective with who they work with in partnership with. Once a partnership is formed we endeavour to build upon it to strengthen the partnership. We strive to reduce offending to make Bradford a safer and better place to live, work and study.’ Mal Saville, Bradford YOT.
Refugees and asylum seekers
306 people attended Cycling to Sanctuary refugee drop-in sessions funded by the Big Bike Revival and 106 people received free bikes.
‘Bradford Bikery joining forces with another cycling organisation The Capital of Cycling, provided practical help and support to asylum seekers and refugees in Bradford through their “Cycling to Sanctuary” initiative. With Big Bike Revival funding, and the Margaret Carey Foundation supplying bikes refurbished in prison workshops, they have given away over 100 free bikes. Some of the recipients are in absolute transport poverty so a bike can be a crucial tool.’ https://www.cyclinguk.org/news/big-bike-celebration-award-winners.
Employability – Job club and STEP program
In partnership with In-communities and through the in-house job club and STEP program which provides 6 month paid work placements, MCF has helped volunteers back into employment.
CM now working as a cycling instructor – ‘you don’t know what you’ve done for me, you gave me a chance and its changed my life, I’m very happy’
MCF bike recycling volunteer and mechanic RW is now via the STEP scheme working in a café at a local community centre. https://www.cyclinguk.org/case-study/coping-ms-through-cycling