The Streetvibe Bike Project aims to fulfill the following objectives:
To provide free bike repairs and workshops for all young people within our community.
To provide an environment that promotes cycling and repair skills that keep people mobile as well as safe.
To stop the waste of bicycles and promote a more sustainable mode of transport and lifestyle.
To ensure that cycling in Leicester continues to grow and that all people have access to services regardless of social, economic or any other status that may cause disadvantage.
Where we are now:
We are currently based at The Braunstone Grove. We have a section of the Youth Centre that is dedicated to Bicycle maintenance and has tools, work stations and benches. We also have access to 2 mobile vehicles one of which is a fully converted Iveco Van. The van is used to transport our Bikes as well as to collect Bikes from people who donate to us. We also have a Cargo Bike that is used for mobile repair sessions. The Bike can be taken to almost any location and set up to provide a fully working Bike repair station. The project runs sessions every week for young people, all of which are free to use. We also run weekend sessions for adults at very reasonable prices. These sessions vary each month but focus on basic repair and maintenance and are used to fund the work we do with young people.
We are aiming to be a self funding social enterprise which will mean that all the money we make will be re distributed into the organisation. Our biggest goal and main aim is to provide free repairs and services for young people and a combination of donations, funding and becoming self sufficient will help us to make this a reality. We are also looking at becoming an accredited centre which will mean that we can provide Level 1 and Level 2 Bicycle Maintenance courses.
How it all started:
The project was started in 2013 and was the idea of Darren, a man who volunteered at the time to get the project going. Through his work he managed to develop a project from scratch that now services the whole of Leicester.
We started firstly by doing 1 session a week on a Thursday providing free repairs to 13-19 year olds. This proved to be hugely successful and from this we started to do bike trips with some of the young people involved with the project. Trips included Cannock Chase, Hicks Lodge, Sherwood Forest and as far as Brighton.
In recognition of the great work we were doing we were donated equipment and bikes from various organisations in the city. This enabled us to create a real workshop at our youth centre as well as provide trips and work with local schools.
In order to pay for sessions we started to look at other revenues and teaching was one of those. We designed a course that could be taken into local schools and taught to students who may not be accessing mainstream classes. We started at Fullhurst Community College and from there went on to provide sessions in City of Leicester School and also provide one off sessions accross various schools in the city and county.
At this time we found there was a huge need for young people to have a sustainable free mode of transport. This is when we started to work with Biffa and Leicestershire Police Force who gave us Bikes that were being scrapped, recovered or found in the city. The Bikes were then donated to those that needed them most and young people could volunteer with the project to earn a Bike.
In 2015 Darren moved on from the project but had the forsight to train 4 members of staff as Level 2 Bicycle Repair Mechanics. As well as this we have 2 members of staff who are also Bikeability trained. The team now continue the great work that has been done and have some pretty big goals for the future. This includes creating a community of cyclists that will help to maintain the project as well as expanding on the services we offer in order to become self sustainable.