Bike Back is an initiative of Life Cycle UK run in partnership with two prisons – HMP Bristol and HMP Stocken to help prisoners build confidence, self-esteem, and employability skills through bicycle mechanics.
We teach prisoners how to strip down, clean and refit unwanted bikes that have been donated by the public, giving them a new lease of life. The bikes are then sold at affordable prices with the intention of helping local people on low incomes to get a bike and start cycling. Life Cycle has developed a supported bike workshop and has developed partnerships with other local charities supporting vulnerable people. The workshop programme enables ex-offenders and others in need of opportunities to continue learning and gain valuable work experience, thereby helping them to overcome challenges, break out of the negative patterns and move forward in their lives.
We were impressed by the holistic nature of the Bike Back project and by the various strands that it encapsulates – education and skills training and work experience for prisoners, recycling and giving back to the local community. We have learnt a lot as this project has developed about the need to be flexible and to adapt and change plans to meet the various challenges that arise. In developing the workshop, the Bike Back team have created opportunities to serve a wider number of people and have also created income-generating activities at the workshop so this has been a fantastic project to support.