Best Project under £1,000

Award Winner

Bike Kitchen

The Bike Kitchen is an ongoing programme of evening bicycle repair and maintenance sessions but with a twist; the bicycle owners do the work themselves. The Bike Kitchen is run in partnership with Julian House homeless charity at its Bike Workshop in Bath, allowing bike owners to work in a professionally equipped workshop with the help, support and encouragement of qualified bike mechanics. Sessions are held once every month between 17:30 and 19:30, enabling access to the widest range of participants. With a growing wait list, additional sessions are planned for autumn. In accordance with the Access West grant, the sessions target three principal groups: Communities: Participants who use their bikes for utility or leisure purposes. Business: Business employees who use their bikes for commuting or business travel. Wheels to Work: Free attendance at sessions for those not in work, allowing the removal of travel barriers whilst looking for employment, skills or training opportunities.

Local Authority contact details

Paul Thompson - Business Engagement Accounts Manager (01225 394267) Hannah Brittain - School Travel Plan Officer (01225 394262) Bath and North East Somerset Council (B&NES)

Who was involved & what was their role?

Jessica Fox-Taylor, Sustainable Transport Team Leader, B&NES Council: supervision and direction. Paul Thompson, Business Engagement Manager B&NES Council: design and implementation. Esther Passingham, Social Enterprise Area Manager, Julian House: managing session bookings. Mark Sayer, Bike Workshop Manager, Julian House: overseeing the sessions.

Details of cost budget, sources of funding

Each session costs £90, run as a not-for-profit enterprise by Julian House. Community & business participants pay £15 each for a 2hr session, or £10 for 1hr (this income defrays in part the B&NES contribution). Consumables are provided free of charge. Wheels to Work participants are not charged. The budget for the scheme is £800p.a. with funds provided through the Access West (DfT) grant award.

How was it developed?

Recognising the benefits to individuals of investing both time and money in a scheme to support and genuinely embed sustainable travel behaviour, the Bike Kitchen was conceived to link three of the tranches of the Access West grant; Communities, Business Engagement and Wheels to Work. Close liaison with Julian House identified its interest in running the sessions and established some aligned objectives for those referred through the Wheels to Work programme. A contract was drawn up by B&NES Council for the work that Julian House would be undertaking in running the sessions and publicity material jointly agreed. Once the publicity material was distributed, participants completed a SurveyMonkey registration form and were booked in for the desired session. B&NES Council contacted Avon and Somerset Constabulary and was able to make arrangements for bikes unsuitable for re-homing through the Bumblebee police auctions can instead be provided to Wheels to Work participants free of charge.

What was the outcome, including information on future plans - one-off, on-going, develop further?

To date, sessions have been fully subscribed which demonstrates the desire for learning and experiencing bike maintenance. Additional sessions may be run to encourage particular groups, for example women/other gender only sessions and sessions for year-round commuters to ‘winter-proof’ their bikes. There are several outcomes achieved by the scheme: 1. Providing meaningful occupation opportunities to Julian House volunteers responsible for preparing for the sessions. 2. Removing barriers to those Wheels to Work participants seeking access to work, skills or training. 3. Raising the profile of Julian House’s Bike Workshop operation. 4. Providing support to cyclists whilst raising their confidence in repair and maintenance tasks. Raising the profile of cycling. Participant feedback is sought after each Bike Kitchen session. All respondents have advised that the sessions are very good and would recommend the sessions to a friend. No negative feedback has been received.

How does this initiative or project meet the criteria?

Target group engaged: Use of a referral code on the SurveyMonkey registration form allows participation levels across the three tranches to be established. Working with other 3rd sector organisations, who help promote the scheme to service users, ensures that Wheels to Work participants are forthcoming. Joined up approach: Collaborative development of the scheme with Julian House has been hugely successful and has enabled the achievement of shared outcomes, particularly with respect to Wheels to Work participants. Measure success: Feedback recorded on the SurveyMonkey feedback form is analysed by UWE as part of its monitoring and evaluation role under Access West. Transferable: Certainly, particularly where the sponsor, in this case B&NES Council, can work alongside other 3rd sector providers to run the scheme as a not for profit enterprise. Cost effective: Annual cost of running the scheme, dependent on the number of paying participants, will not exceed £800 p.a.


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