The Bath Bike Workshop social enterprise, operated by Julian House, is to receive a welcome boost from Bath & North East Somerset Council’s Community Infrastructure Levy.
Their grant of £27,941 will fund a full-time cycle mechanic at the busy Corn St workshop.
This was the first social enterprise to be opened by the charity, in 2010. The aim of the business was to offer training and work experience opportunities to its homeless clients and other vulnerable individuals who were trying to re-enter the job market.
Prior to this refurbishing second-hand bikes was just one of the many activities which were held as part of the charity’s meaningful occupation programme. That experience was the springboard for turning it into a proper business – refurbishing second-hand bikes, servicing and even offering quality second-hand parts. Since then new bikes are part of the sales mix and, more recently, bike rentals.
The difference between this business and conventional bike workshops is the inclusion of work experience and training for marginalised and vulnerable individuals.
Mark Sayer is the area manager for the business, overseeing this and the other three Julian House workshops that have opened across the South West.
Bath was our original workshop and is still our biggest. The quality of the bikes we sell is terrific – everything from road bikes through to kiddies’ trainers and even tandems. People are surprised by the amount of work that is required to put a second-hand bike back on the road in tip top condition. All our machines are quality checked by trained staff. This grant from the Community Infrastructure Levy will ensure that we keep up with demand and, more importantly, ensure that we can support our social outcomes objectives – helping clients with their confidence and self-esteem, improving their skills and helping them back to work.
During the lock down the business closed for 7 weeks because of the challenges of social distancing for customers/staff. Modifications have now been made and since it reopened on 9th May trade has been brisk. Cycling has become even more popular with public now having more free time and keen to stay healthy.
That success brings the extra challenge of needed more bike donations. Mark Sayer is keen for the public to continue their support: “If anyone has got a bike at the back of their shed which would benefit from TLC and our mechanics’ skills we’d love to have it. Sadly very rusty or badly damaged machines cannot be economically repaired. Good second-hand machines are our bread and butter and donors can feel proud that their donation will help to rebuild someone’s life.
Supporting the Bath Bike Workshop social enterprise will help residents access affordable bikes and bike maintenance, which is especially important to encourage more people to move to alternative forms of commuting such as cycling as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic. I’m pleased that this grant will help people to travel sustainably across the city.
Very supportive of this brilliant scheme to help improve cycle maintenance . Having local mechanics in place to fix bikes is a huge advantage when so many are keen to use bikes as a way of getting around the city. So often people give up on riding a bike because they are slightly damaged or need a small modification, having a local facility at hand to fix bikes will allow so many to get back on a bike, which improves their health and the planets.
The Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) is a planning charge designed to help local authorities to deliver infrastructure such as schools, transport links, open spaces, recreational or waste facilities to serve the residents and users of developments in their area. Find out more at https://beta.bathnes.gov.uk/section-106-planning-obligations-and-community-infrastructure-levy-cil
Bath Bike Workshop is located in Corn St, BA1 1UF and is open 0900-1700 Tues – Sat.
Bike donations can be dropped off during business hours.