We're thrilled to have been chosen as Gloucestershire County Cricket Club’s “Local Charity Partner”.
The Club has a long history of working with and supporting charities, but in 2020, their 150th year they decided to more closely focus on three: one county-based, one city-based and a local partner close to their home at the Bristol County Ground.
Our “Bike Back” project – which teaches prisoners to refurbish unwanted bikes for the local community – is located just 600 metres from Bristol County Ground, and our work closely aligns with the Club’s strategy for becoming more sustainable. Inspired by the impact we have in the lives of both prisoners and local people, they chose us as their Local Partner.
Gloucestershire Cricket CEO, Will Brown, said:
“It is very exciting to be engaging with such a fantastic local charity. The work they do is impressive and makes a genuine difference in the community. Their focus on minimising environmental impact makes them a natural fit as our Local Charity Partner and I am sure Gloucestershire members and supporters will be excited to hear more about their work during the season.”
As one of the 18 first-class County Cricket Clubs in the UK, they are keen to use their profile and large following to raise awareness of our work in the local community – and further afield, as well as providing opportunities to fundraise at matches and meet with potential sponsors and partners. We are looking forward to making use of the Club’s fantastic facilities for meetings and events – and showcasing our work at their Community Day on Sunday 26th July.
In return, we hope to be able to help them on their mission to be the “greenest” cricket club in Britain – by enabling and promoting cycling amongst their staff, players and visitors. We also hope to provide an insight into the criminal justice system and prisoner rehabilitation, which, due to its very nature, is rarely seen by the general public.
Visiting “Bike Back”
On Tuesday 25th February, we were delighted to welcome several members of staff and three First Team Gloucestershire Cricket players to our Bike Back project. They met with the Bike Back team and visited the secure area of the prison where we teach cycle mechanics. Here they chatted with the men about their experiences of working on bikes, and how the calm and order of the workshop contrasts with prison life.
Two of the men had recently achieved their City & Guilds Level 1, and were thrilled to have their certificates presented to them by First XI Bowler, David Payne. It was a touching moment, as one of the men took the opportunity to thank workshop mechanics John and Emma for their “patience” and “brilliant teaching”.
For many men, this qualification will be their first – and the time spent in the workshop a uniquely positive experience of education. For the youngest prisoner there, the workshop “felt like a family” and was clearly a vital support system for navigating the harshness of a men’s prison at just 19 years old.
Pete Lamb, Community Engagement Officer at the Club said:
“Our visit to the prison really highlighted the positive impact “Bike Back” has on the lives of prisoners. The men inside spoke of the safe workshop atmosphere, the positive family feel, and their passion for learning and helping others. We’re excited to partner with a fantastic project, and look forward to the year ahead”.
Life Cycle’s CEO, Ed Norton said:
“We are delighted to be Gloucestershire Cricket’s Local Charity Partner for 2020 – also our 20th anniversary year! Our “Bike Back” project is one of Bristol’s best-kept secrets - as much of it takes place behind the prison walls. Partnering with such a high profile local institution will really put Life Cycle on the map and help us reach even more people who could benefit from our services or support our work.”