Topic: News

Exeter Bike Workshop Challenge Ride

120 miles; Trowbridge > Exeter

On April 8th, a group of cyclists took on this 120 mile sponsored ride, raising money to launch our new social enterprise bike workshop in Exeter.

This ride was part of a campaign that crowdfunded £16k from generous local people and businesses.

12 riders took part, all keen amateurs aged 25 and up. Some of the group were old friends and some were new acquaintances. It was great to see the cause working to bring everyone together.

After a chilly start, the weather put on a great show and, what's more, there wasn't a single puncture!

You can see the routes detail here - highly recommended for it's scenery and for passing the excellent King Alfred Inn in Burrowbridge!

Critchill School Build a Bike Project

Critchill School's new cycle workshop provides vulnerable and disengaged students with the opportunity to learn new skills, develop self-confidence and gain a sense of achievement, as well as begin to build work-related skills such as team-working and problem solving.

Students from Oakfield Academy were the first group to undertake this new and exciting project. Bicycle maintenance is the primary focus of the provision but students can also learn about healthy living, nutrition for exercise, planning cycle routes and preparing for different weather conditions, cycling proficiency and health and safety in the workplace.

As part of the initiative students are able to keep their fully refurbished and safety checked bike that they have worked on, at the end of the project if the agreed contract has been fulfilled.

The project is led collaboratively by a qualified teaching assistant from Critchill School and an experienced cycle mechanic from Julian House Bike Workshop.

Emma Thomas AHT at Oakfield Academy said “Pupils from Oakfield Academy had a fantastic opportunity and have noticeably grown in confidence whilst learning lots of new skills. It has been a hugely successful project.”

Sophie Addison DHT at Critchill said “We are really excited that this new collaborative venture has had such a positive start and were keen to roll it out to other students.”

First trainees complete Build-a-Bike in Trowbridge

THE first graduates from a new Build-a-Bike training course run by the social enterprise Julian House Bike Workshop in Trowbridge received certificates to celebrate their success this week.

Jake Butler, Matthew Joyce and Thomas Robson-Carter were awarded certificates by Julian House chief executive Peter Denning at the bike workshop in Duke Street on Tuesday (April 7) after completing the six-week course.

The course, which is the first of its kind in Wiltshire, is targeted at individuals with a history of homelessness, addiction offending or long term unemployment, who would benefit from being independently mobile.

It is funded by the Wiltshire Community Transport Fund and during the course, participants learned to strip and refurbish a donated second-hand bike, including how to remove, refit and replace parts on the bicycle.

Mr Butler, 24, who found out about the course through The Amber Foundation, said: “I really enjoyed the course and I learned a lot about bicycles over the six weeks.

“We had to dismantle the bikes and then put them back together using parts at the bike workshop and it provided me with great experience and some useful new skills.”

The course is aimed at boosting self esteem and providing participants new skills and work place disciplines. They are allowed to take their refurbished bike at the end, giving them more independence and freedom.

Simon Brand, the social enterprise area manager for Julian House, said: “Even though we have experience of doing something similar in Bath there’s still quite a bit of organising to launch a new course in a new workshop.

“The structured programme has worked really well and the feedback from our inaugural students has been very positive.

“We are indebted to the Community Transport Fund for their support and to the various referral agencies who have been directing clients towards the course. I’m pleased to say that the next course, which starts in April, is already full.”

For more information about the course, contact support worker Mark Brown on 01225 354780 or email Alternatively, visit the Trowbridge workshop contact page.

New Julian House Bike Workshop in Bristol

On Saturday 15th November 2014, Julian House opened their third social enterprise bike workshop. Stephen Williams, the MP for Bristol West and Undersecretary of State for Communities and Local Government, was there to open the workshop.

The bike workshop in Bristol is closely modelled on similar Julian House social enterprises in Bath and Trowbridge. Vulnerable individuals, mainly with a history of homelessness and/or addiction issues, are given the opportunity to gain job skills and specialist training on bike maintenance. Donated second-hand bikes are carefully refurbished and sold to the public – along with quality second hand parts and accessories. All profits are either reinvested into the business or used to provide other front line homeless/addiction services.

Simon Brand, the charity’s Social Enterprise Area Manager, is excited by the prospects for Julian House Bike Workshop in Bristol – “Our original bike workshop started out in a very modest way – a few bikes were renovated in the back yard of our offices. It was something that the clients enjoyed and where possible we allowed them to take the machine away – very empowering when you are at the bottom of society’s pile. From there it developed into a business which now gives lots of clients valuable work experience. Customers should feel justifiably proud that their support will give real opportunity to some of the most marginalised members of society and help to fund other front line homeless and addiction services.”