Community bike shop Westminster Wheels training unemployed residents to become bike mechanics


A group bike shop that was established up in partnership by Westminster Metropolis Council, Groundwork London and Cycle Self-confident has been giving opportunities for out-of-perform residents to prepare as bike mechanics and be paid out the London Residing Wage though they are studying.

All through the 6-thirty day period programme, the trainees perform together with skilled bicycle mechanics refurbishing aged bikes, of which 80% are marketed at reasonably priced charges to produce earnings for the shop and 20% are donated to the nearby community.

Considering the fact that the shop opened in March 2021, 30 Westminster people have completed their six-thirty day period schooling and most have gone on to safe even more work, quite a few within the bicycle business.

Chris Whiteley, who effectively done his paid out operate placement with Westminster Wheels and who is now a whole-time bike mechanic explained: “I first moved to London previous calendar year. I was homeless just before I arrived in this article so I moved in with my sister.

“I observed a poster for Westminster Wheels when I was going for a stroll one working day and thought, I adore bikes and would adore to understand how to resolve them. Westminster Wheels has definitely changed my daily life. I went from owning no strategy or what to do with my existence to acquiring a occupation that I could fortunately invest the rest of my lifetime carrying out.”

Westminster Wheels has so far donated above 80 bikes which have been qualified at regions in Westminster with the greatest costs of deprivation and health inequality. In the earlier year, bikes have been delivered to community organisations like Marylebone Bangladesh Society, Paddington Enhancement Trust, Women’s Groups and by way of the council’s Children’s Services.

To persuade harmless biking, all the beneficiaries are made aware of bike teaching sessions and aid and tips supplied from the shop at Church Avenue.

This 12 months, Westminster Wheels will be increasing its achieve by donating bicycle servicing vouchers to lower-profits people in Westminster with the aim of giving 450 vouchers more than the future six months.

Linking in with Westminster Town Council’s wider local climate action system which includes its ambition to turn out to be a carbon-neutral council by 2030 and metropolis by 2040, the task also has a strong sustainability emphasis.

In its 1st year, 9 tonnes of disused bikes that would usually have absent to squander have been refurbished. Local people are getting inspired and enabled to decide on energetic transportation above cars and trucks.

The project’s reach has been made feasible by sponsorship from firms in Westminster which include Capita, Ecoworld, Grosvenor, The Howard de Walden Estate, RMG, Westminster Community Homes, Ecoworld, HA Marks, Wates and Vital Strength.

Browse additional: Not (just) for kids: Discovering the current condition of BMX

Councillor Geoff Barraclough, cupboard member for organizing and economic development at Westminster City Council, reported: “Westminster Wheels has aided persons who deal with significant boundaries to employment this kind of as homelessness master new and handy skills. Over 60% of the trainees are now in complete-time employment.

“If you’re a cycling fanatic or just  starting out on two wheels, remember to examine out the Westminster Wheels shop on Church Street to meet the trainees and get pro tips on inexpensive bikes and servicing.”


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Jaime E. Love

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