Bikeworks are an award winning social enterprise using cycling as a tool to tackle social and environmental challenges at a community level.
Bikes can improve the lives of many people. It is with this persuasion that Jim Blakemore and Dave Miller, passionate bikers, founded Bikeworks, a London based social enterprise using bicycles and cycling as tools to tackle social, environmental and economic challenges at community level.
Since its opening in Tower Hamlets, East London, in 2008, Bikeworks has been delivering innovative cycling activities across the city, such as: repairing and refurbishing second hands bikes, selling new and used bikes, providing training to get more people cycling, creating training and employment opportunities for disadvantaged people -homeless and ex-homeless people - and providing specialist disability cycling services.
Bikeworks has received a number of awards in recognition of their activity, including Best Social enterprise at the 2011 Private Business Awards by PWC & Best New social enterprise in the UK in 2009. In addition, during the 2012 summer Olympic and Paralympic games they trained local youth to become bike mechanics and offered them work experience. Bikeworks mechanics fixed over 3000 bikes during the games.
Focusing on socially deprived areas in East London, Bikeworks offers employment and training opportunities for marginalized people. “Cycle into work” is an innovative training and employment programme for disadvantaged groups including homeless and ex homeless people aiming to secure them professional qualifications in bike mechanics. The scheme, supported by Barclays, provides opportunity for social interaction, working as a team and improving confidence and communication skills. The “All Ability” programme promotes confidence in cycling for differently abled people, whereas the “Cycling for Health” program is designed for people with health problems- which includes health problems associated with a sedentary lifestyle and people who find it hard to exercise in their daily lives.
Bikeworks is also about the environment. They buy very few bikes, only the ones that they are unable to source from recycled spares and they recycle and refurbish them to use them in their community programmes. The aim is to encourage cycling as a means of sustainable, environmentally friendly transport as well as a means of promoting good health.
As a social enterprise, Bikeworks reinvest 100% of their profits into their community cycling activities.