Chichester bike project will help provide transport and training to people in long-term unemployment
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Organisers at the Chichester Community Development Trust hope the project will herald a wave of positive change for the city’s community. A spokesperson explained that it’s “more than just a bike initiative, it's a community-driven force promoting sustainability, accessibility, and a love for cycling. This exciting venture will provide workshops, volunteer opportunities and bike refurbishments - creating a space for bike enthusiasts and novices alike.”
Alongside its arrival in the city, the bike project is launching three, free-to-attend after school workshops from February 23. The first is the Earn-a Bike scheme, which is designed to give people facing long term barriers to employment the chance to refurbish and keep a donated bike. Alongside teaching new skills and practical experience, the programme is designed to foster softer, more transferable skills like self-reliance and confidence, as well as providing access to affordable and sustainable transport options. Workshop places will be available on referral.
A spokesperson for the Chichester Community Development Trust said: “To an individual who has been struggling to make it on their own and dealing with the realities of housing insecurity, a bike can mean so much more – employment, confidence, mobility, fun and self-care!”
Fix-A-Bike workshops are also set to take place under the project’s banner. Scheduled to take place every week, the workshops will allow volunteers and members of the public to tinker with their own bikes, or a donated pair of wheels, all using the bike shop’s top-of-the-range facilities.
But it’s not just about building bike maintenance skills, it’s also about building social connections in a relaxed, low-stakes setting. To make the sessions even more approachable, no prior experience is necessary and visitors can count on the expert guidance of skilled technicians who are always on hand. The sessions will run every Wednesday from 4pm to 8pm, and attendance is free for those looking to fix donated bikes, but there will be a small fee for those who wish to fix their own.
After School Bikes is a very similar project aimed at younger bike owners aged between 8 and 18. It’s a completely free service, designed to teach young people how to fix, repair and maintain their bikes, working with the Bike Project’s skilled technicians. The workshops will take place on Fridays from 4pm to 6pm.
As well as the project, the building at Shopwhyke Lakes will also be home to ‘The Hub’: a hireable space for small group gatherings like book clubs, stitch clubs, and other community meetings.
As the project takes off, the Development Trust is looking for keen volunteers to register their interest and teach people how to look after their bikes. To register your interest, visit: https://chichesterbikeproject.com/
Clare De Bathe, Ceo of the Chichester Community Development Trust, said: “This is the realisation of a long-held ambition to launch this initiative. We have seen the transformative impact this can have on people’s lives, and the support it gives to the whole community to enjoy greener living again.”