I remember first hearing about The Bike Project over three years ago. The simplest of ideas. Some people who have bikes don’t use them. And some people who don’t have bike would really appreciate them. Match the bikes to the people. Simple. And yet, there was a gap there for an idea. That idea has grown into what now is The Bike Project, and three years later, over 470 lives have been changed.
470 bikes. 470 helmets. 470 locks. 470 front lights and back lights.
470 refugees and asylum seekers have been given sustainable transportation. Saving 470 people money each day.
Thursday night workshops are always brilliant, especially during the long summer evenings. A mix of staff, volunteers, locals and beneficiaries coming together outside a small workshop in Hackney. Fixing bikes, exchanging stories, watching football and generally all moving towards a shared goal.
Our web site has a quote from Helen Bamber OBE, who died last week aged 89:
“The Bike Project provides the first step into normal living for those who have faced persecution and atrocity”.
Helen was an early supporter of The Bike Project and more qualified than most to voice an opinion. She started working with Jewish refugees from the Nazi Holocaust in 1945 and never left this field of work, focusing on people displaced and dispersed under the worst of circumstances. In 1985 she founded The Medical Foundation for Victims of Torture to provide a specialist service for people coming to UK who carried the impact of torture with them. The mainstream medical services did not have the expertise or time to provide the holistic care needed – listening, translating, being a consistent haven and a place where confidence in the goodwill of people can gradually be rebuilt.
If I wish anything for The Bike Project which I am so proud to chair it is that we always aspire to also be this kind of place – a place that kindles confidence in goodness. Our team, led by Jem, exudes humanity and humour along with their outstanding commitment and professionalism. Our remit may be highly focused but our ambitions are great. We salute Helen Bamber; as is custom to say in the Jewish tradition, May her memory be a blessing.
David Janner-Klausner, Chair of The Bike Project
Copyright © 2016 - The Bike Project - Charity Number: 1152354