Bike Recycling project gets Lottery Funding

April 2012 marks the start of 5 years of Lottery Funding for Bristol's biggest bike recycling scheme. Life Cycle UK has successfully secured over £300,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to enable it to continue running Bike Back, its bicycle refurbishment project in partnership with HMP Bristol.

Bike Back takes unwanted bikes, donated to the scheme by members of the public, to Bristol Prison, where they are stripped down, cleaned and then rebuilt by prisoners under the tuition of an expert mechanic. Life Cycle then sells the bikes at low cost with the aim of helping more people on low incomes to cycle. All the funds raised at the bike sales are put directly back into the scheme.
The project has been running for just over twelve months, and was started with the support of Bristol City Council’s Cycling City programme. It has proved to be successful in terms of providing prisoners with opportunities to learn new skills, So far 135 prisoners have had the chance to participate with some really positive feedback. One commented:
“I knew the basics, from working on my own bike, but I didn’t realise there was so much more to learn. I have learnt masses – and not just about bikes. I have learnt general things about employment, looking after tools, keeping the workshop clean and tidy. I am feeling much more positive now. I’ve got my mind set on other things and I want to try and get a job when I leave.” 
The project has also been successful at increasing the number of low cost bikes available to local people. In the last 12 months Bike Back has refurbished and sold 253 bikes. Feedback from customers has been overwhelmingly positive, with 96% reporting that the project is excellent value for money.
Big Lottery Fund’s funding will be spread out over five years, giving the scheme long-term security ensuring an ongoing supply of refurbished bikes for Bristol whilst giving prisoners at HMP Bristol ongoing opportunities to learn employability and mechanical skills.
Nikki Secker, Head of Business Development at HMP Bristol commented
The Bike Back project is an important element of our training and employment strategy at HMP Bristol. We are absolutely delighted to have secured this funding to allow for the continued development of the cycle project. This project has already demonstrated its potential to impact on reoffending, by providing quality training and constructive skills for those at HMP Bristol. ”
Cllr Jon Rogers, Cabinet Member for Cycling City said:
"This is a very much deserved Lottery success for this excellent project. Bike Back is one of Cycling City's most valuable legacies - providing crucial training to prisoners, at the same time as providing a steady source of low cost bikes to the public. The Lottery funding will now ensure the project's long-term security which is very good news. Well done to everyone involved at HMP Bristol and Life Cycle."
Poppy Brett, Director of Life Cycle, commented
we are absolutely over the moon about this. Bike Back is win, win, win all the way. It helps prisoners learn new skills; It helps the environment by reducing waste, and by getting more people cycling and it helps people on low incomes get bikes, get cycling and get fit! This is great news for Bristol”.