Helping our residents get on their bike

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Community Cycleworks on the Aylesbury estate

We’re so proud of our work to help fund a fantastic initiative, Community Cycleworks, on the Aylesbury estate. Since 2021 the group has been running bike fix workshops from a fitted-out 40ft container. This interim location in Portland Street, along cycle route 17 and beside Michael Faraday School, has had almost 500 attendees this year already.

Director, Stewart, and his team have been helping residents and the local community since 2012 by running drop-in sessions where the team demonstrate how visitors can repair their bikes. All they pay for are any new or second-hand parts. In July, they began running sessions on Saturdays after receiving funding from Southwark Council’s Streets for People project - this has seen the number of repairs they do each month rise from 35 to 115.

Now Community Cycleworks has a full team of mechanics, the majority of whom are female, as well as volunteers to help with demand. They run sessions every Friday between 3-6pm and on Saturday between 10.30am-4pm. Saturday morning is a focused session to encourage more women, girls and non-binary people to come along.

Typically, people come to sessions because they want to learn how to fix their bikes themselves and want to do this as inexpensively as possible, often with second-hand parts. But the team also want to build confidence by showing people how to cycle on the road and get to grips with basic repair skills.

Stewart says: “We wouldn’t be here without Notting Hill Genesis’s help. I’m grateful for all the help the team have given me to make this dream a reality. All I want to do now is expand and see how many more communities we can help.”

The container has been fitted out to carry out bike repair workshops but also store essential equipment so the team can run sessions at local schools. They use the opportunity to teach school groups about planning routes by bike and how much faster it can be, along with the positive impact on the environment. So far this year, they’ve run eight courses teaching 380 students, and have five more booked through the Autumn term, for which they’ve been supported by Southwark Council.

The workshops depend on being hands-on. As Stewart says, particularly with kids if you just talk at them, you’ll lose their attention. By giving them tools and showing them how it’s done, they learn much faster, and it can really show them what they’re capable of.

Community Cycleworks wants a healthier, cleaner, and more sustainable world in which all young people have access to a bike, skills to repair it and the ability to ride.  Their passion is empowering people to be mechanically self-sufficient and choose cycling as an everyday mode of transport. We are proud to support Community Cycleworks’ fantastic work and contribute to making this vision a reality on the Aylesbury Estate.

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