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Gloucestershire Bike Project - A True Social Enterprise
by Startacus Admin
It’s fair to say that in recent weeks we've been having something of a ‘social enterprise-fest’ here at Startacus, with such inspiring tales as Manchester Veg People, Pop-up bikes and Avaaz.org. Today we keep the wheel turning with an inspirational project which is putting the pedal to the metal with its not-for-profit bicycle refurbishment service that rescues those underloved bikes from dusty sheds and encourages people to get back behind the handlebars.
Gloucestershire Bike Project is a well established social enterprise, based in - you guessed it - Gloucestershire that will gladly save your old bikes from the scrapheap by lovingly refurbishing them to the highest standard and selling them on (at a very reasonable price) to cycle enthusiasts in the market for a bargain set of wheels. The vast majority of the bikes that they work on are donated by lovely members of the public who, for whatever reason, no longer need their two wheeled (or in many cases, one-wheeled) companions. At last count, GBP have been behind the salvation of over 1500 bikes with the all the money raised being ploughed back into the project. A worthy cause indeed - but there is much more to this story than just affordable bikes for the local community - GBP has taken it up a gear.
It seems that recycling and encouraging locals to use this healthy and environmentally sound mode of transport is just the beginning over at GBP as they use the money accumulated to fund a range of valuable community projects of which these are just a few...
The Young People’s Project - This consists of weekly workshops which are geared towards young people (particularly those who are vulnerable or disengaged) from across the Gloucestershire area and aims to instill them with confidence and self worth through education about bikes and bike repair. It’s a very worthwhile project which not only allows the kids to get hands on experience but also promotes the benefits of hard work and creates a lasting sense of achievement.
The Changing Gears Project - In partnership with Allen Lane Foundation the good folks at GBP work with people who have gained a criminal record to provide them with the skills and experience to achieve a qualification in bike maintenance and repair. The workshops take place in small groups of 5 where the tutors can provide valuable one-to-one tuition over the course of a six week period. Not content to provide this service to those only in Gloucestershire, the team are now in a position to offer these classes anywhere in the country if provided with a space large enough for their equipment and 5 people to work in.
Some mighty impressive stuff! Who would have thought that the rusty old bike in the garage could do all that? We have featured a lot of social enterprises in our time and we can say with confidence that GBP is one of our favourites yet. It’s a brilliant project which is innovative and original in its concept and is actively making a difference to the community - very worthy of the title “social enterprise”.
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