From left: Mohammed, Shadi and Aljazar, collecting their bikes from The Bike Project in Birmingham.
Our new project in Birmingham opened its doors less than 3 months ago and already we’ve reached an exciting milestone of donating our 100th bike! That’s more than 1 bike every day!
Since opening our doors at The Old Print Works in Balsall Heath, we’ve been working flat out setting up a new workshop, recruiting volunteers, seeking donations of unwanted bikes and organising donation sessions. And now all the hard work is paying off!
Looking back on how far we’ve come since June, Sarah our West Midlands Operations Manager said:
“I’m so glad that we’ve managed to donate 100 bikes already in our short time in Birmingham. That means 100 more people have a sustainable and free method of transport to help them get around Birmingham and beyond! Thanks so much to all the generous people who have donated a bike so far and to our funders for making it happen”
On Thursday 26 September we proudly donated our 100th bike (and 102nd & 103rd!) to Aljazar and his two sons, Shadi and Mohammed. Aljazar said:
“When my kids are happy, I am happy. It will save us lots of money in bus tickets for the boys to get to school and for me to get to ESOL classes. Mohammed was excited about getting a bike as soon as we arrived in the UK”
A new bike can transform the lives of refugees and asylum seekers giving them an easy way to access many vital services. For younger people, a bike can also be invaluable in helping them make new friends and in building a stronger connection to the new community around them.
We asked Mohammed, age 11, where he first planned on going with his new bike, his answer was immediate:
“To the park! With my new friends from school. Lots of people have bikes.”
Shadi, age 15 said:
“I’m really happy to not have to get the bus to school anymore, I can go by bike!”
Our new home in Birmingham was chosen given it’s proximity to London, that it is a Cycling City and a key area for refugee support, demonstrated both through the presence of many local refugee charities and the successful campaign for Birmingham to become an official City of Sanctuary.
Regardless, refugees and asylum seekers still face many challenges when arriving in Birmingham and the surrounding areas. Coventry Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) are on the front line of support for many new arrivals and welcomed our arrival in Birmingham.
CAB advisor, Michael, said:
“Now, thanks to The Bike Project, Mohammed and his brother have a bike each. This means so much to them, particularly as they integrate into their local community and as they continue to make friends with other children. Most importantly, it has made a boy’s first and most urgent request for his new life in the UK become reality.”
Our project in Birmingham hopes to donate more than 200 bikes in 2019, but we can’t do it alone. We are always on the look out for unwanted bikes. If you’ve got an old bike gathering dust or know someone else who does, why not consider donating it to us.
Visit our ‘Donate a Bike’ page to find your nearest drop off point.