We have run a community workshop for sometime now, sessions rely on volunteers to run monthly drop-in workshops allowing people to work on their own bikes under supervision as well as receive informal teaching on many topics from puncture repair, brake adjustments and generally checking over their bikes.
We always collect feedback from attendees and many people have asked for more sessions especially in the warmer months and at different times other than weekends. To this end we applied for a Cycling for London grant to allow us to run far more sessions including some themed ones for example mother & daughter, lads & dads and a number run mid week in the evening.
Whilst our volunteers love bikes we also appreciate the end goal is for people to ride them, and the grant will allow us to signpost people to our calendar of social rides and again some of these planned rides will be themed, for example family orientated ones taking in parks and playgrounds.
The grant will also let us train a number of volunteers to a higher level of knowledge to allow them to tackle more complex problems, this will be achieved by bringing in external mechanics to help run some of the more involved sessions and shadow our volunteers. Better trained volunteers will also make the programme more sustainable in the long run as we can scale up our bicycle recycling aspect of the overall project.
Although the project was not scheduled to start until April the good weather and enthusiasm of the volunteers encouraged us to start earlier and we have already ran two sessions and our first social ride in the first six-weeks of the year.
The flexibility of the grants is perfect for us, allowing to determine exactly when we run bike maintenance sessions and their content and we can tailor social rides to fit around volunteer availability, demand as well as local and London wide events.
The project management team has already scheduled the first few months of sessions and we are starting to plan the post Easter programme including evening sessions if the weather is suitable.
We are really looking forward to the next few months especially coupling the maintenance with social rides as these have always been separate activities within our organisation.