Recyke y’Bike is a charity. We’ve been around since 2006, and generate our own funds through refurbishing donated bikes which we then sell. This is a major part of our charitable objectives, and we provide a low-cost transport solution for thousands of people in the North East. It also raises the money to fund our other activities:
We send around 500 bikes a year to development projects in Kenya and The Gambia. Our partner for this work is Pioneer People, who handle the logistics. The bikes are used as part of microfinance programmes, encouraging local people to have a real stake in improving their futures. The bikes needed for this are more robust, basic models, which make it easier for people to maintain and source the spares for them.
We give away around 50 bikes a year to refugees and asylum seekers in Tyneside. Asylum seekers get a very small amount to live on while their case is considered, yet in addition to feeding themselves with this, they also have other costs – typically they have to travel quite large local distances to register with local authorities, meet their case workers, etc. Some days it can mean making the choice between eating or buying the bus ticket to meet these appointments. A bike solves this, and we’re glad when we can help out like this.
We have around 40 volunteers working with us. Many of our volunteers are just looking to give something back, but some also have mental health issues, some have been unemployed for a long time, and some have learning difficulties. We treat them all as valued members of our family, and give them a place where their contribution is valued. We train them in cycle maintenance, improve their social skills, and increase their employability. Of our ten staff, nine started out as volunteers, and we’re proud of our record of former volunteers who now have paid jobs in other organisations too.
We recycle bikes and save them from landfill. Of the 2,000 or so bikes that get donated every year to, around 1,700 get refurbished and go on to have a second (or third, or fourth) life. Around 300 do get scrapped – we separate out all the components and different metals so that nothing gets wasted.
You can find out more about what we do from our annual report. You can also find out about the charity’s trustees and staff on this page, which includes the official list of our Charitable Objectives that we report on.