Bike Back Bristol is an innovative bicycle refurbishment project run by Life Cycle UK, in partnership with HMP Bristol. The project recreates the environment of a working bike shop in the prison. An experienced mechanic, supported by skilled volunteers, teaches prisoners the skills to completely refurbish broken bikes donated by the local community. Once the cycles are stripped down, repaired and rebuilt, they are sold on at affordable prices to help people on lower incomes to get a bike, start cycling and reduce their transport costs. Bike Back offers prisoners the chance to gain City & Guilds accredited qualifications in Cycle Mechanics. Ultimately, the hope is to help graduates gain employment as bike mechanics on release.
“I’m really enjoying education, learning things here that I haven’t on the outside. I was crap at school. I was expelled at 12. It’s boosted my confidence big time”
– prisoner, HMP Bristol
Poppy Brett, Chief Executive Officer of Life Cycle discuses the impact of the RCA win:
“We are so thrilled to have won the Robin Corbett Award: this is a huge endorsement for Bike Back. The scheme is so successful because of the unique partnerships we have formed: with the community who donate their unwanted bikes, with the staff at HMP Bristol who have supported us from day one, and, crucially, with the prisoners who commit to refurbishing the broken bikes. Of course, the greatest thanks goes to Life Cycle UK’s dedicated staff and volunteers, whose commitment to delivering a really outstanding scheme enabled us to win this award. We have had excellent publicity on BBC1, in local newspapers and radio so many more people have heard of our work.”