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Why shop at Julian House Bike Workshop?

2019 July 10 by

Our bike workshops, the social enterprise arm of the charity, continue to be a growing success. We now have shops in Bath, Bristol, Trowbridge and Exeter. Each offers affordable refurbished and new bikes, parts and accessories, professional service and excellent advice. Apart from generating income for Julian House, they also create opportunities for marginalised groups to train, gain confidence and progress towards independence and employment.

We sell a range of new and refurbished adult and child bikes.

What’s been happening?

The last twelve months have been an incredible year with more bikes than ever donated, fixed and sold. We generated £350,000 in social value in employment and training outcomes (measured using HACT calculator) (Housing Associations’ Charitable Trust), 168 people accessed courses, work experience and specialist employment support through Julian House Bike Workshops. This has given them the opportunity to be active, try something new, gain a sense of achievement, build work-related skills and confidence and prepare for and secure paid work. Of these, 153 socially excluded clients attended our AQA Build-a-Bike courses.

153 socially excluded clients attended our AQA Build-a-Bike courses in the last 12 months.

“We’re in need of quality donations.”

Over 1500 donated bikes were refurbished, and of those, more than 1000 were sold to generate an income for the social enterprise, and another 500 bikes were also rescued from landfill. But still, more than ever, we need additional good quality bikes. Whilst all donated bike are truly appreciated, the fact remains that poor, or scrap, condition bikes cost the enterprise in both time and money.

We’re in need of quality donations.

“Professional mechanics deliver bike servicing.”

The servicing side of the enterprise is extremely busy with a two or three week waiting list currently, at most of the bike shops. Our bike mechanics have worked across various engineering and bike workshop backgrounds to bring a combined knowledge base of 400 years plus across our four stores. The enterprise invests in them with the highest industry standard Cytech and City & Guilds qualifications allowing them to work on classic bikes through to Di2 dream machines.

To donate your used bike, buy a new one or book in a service, head to

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Our new Aspire Business Manager, Jane

2017 January 19 by

JaneJane became Business Manager for Aspire in July 2016, after many years of coordinating the social enterprise.

Jane is tasked with using her excellent customer service skills to grow the social enterprise further.  Jane also provides essential support to the team leaders as well as managing the day to day running of the business.

Jane says “Aspire is a fantastic social enterprise, providing excellent services to the public as well as work experience for people trying to get back on the feet. We are very proud of what we achieve, from sparkling windows to transforming rooms and gardens”.

Jane is working closely with the Employment and Support team to explore new ways to engage people furthest from the job market, developing new and meaningful work experience and volunteering opportunities.

You may also see Jane out and about at various Julian House and community events face painting and operating the Smoothie Bike!

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Our new Employment Support Worker, Mai

2017 January 19 by

MaiMeet Mai Brillet, the new Employment Support Worker at Julian House Bristol.

Mai is based at the Aspire Property Maintenance and the Julian House Bike Workshop. Mai’s role is to develop the Build A Bike course, work experience and volunteer opportunities at the social enterprises, as well as providing one to one employment support to clients.

Mai’s previous role was in Brighton with Nightstop as a Project Support Worker. Brighton Nightstop provides emergency accommodation to 16-25 year olds through placements in the homes of voluntary hosts on a night by night basis.

Prior to working in the charity sector, Mai completed a Masters Degree in Literature and Philosophy. Mai is also a practicing visual and performance Artist.

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Phil’s Story

2017 January 19 by

PhilPhil, 45 years old.  Previously a St Vincent’s resident, he is now full time Gardening Team Leader at Aspire.

“Before St Vincent’s I was languishing in a cycle of drink, drugs, crime, prison and my life was pretty much going nowhere.”

“I came to St Vincent’s because I was serving a prison sentence and I had to do something different with my life.”

“A few of the people I was associated with in prison had come to St Vincent’s and championed the cause and so in pursuit of the new life I craved I guess it was a logical choice.”

“I’d worked large parts of my life but a lot of those jobs had fell by the wayside because of my substance misuse and then the 5 years before my latest prison sentence, the one before I came to St Vincent’s, it was a case of I didn’t really want to work and I was happy in my oblivion.  I didn’t think that I was worthy of anything more than I had become so I didn’t even try to get work.”

“Realistically if I hadn’t got a place in any 2nd stage dry house, maybe I’d still be taking drugs, committing crime, going to prison, possibly dead, that’s as black and white as it was quite honestly.”

“Aspire, because they come under the umbrella of a social enterprise they are much more understanding of the issues associated with coming out the other side of substance misuse, for instance I’ve had quite a few hospital appointments and illnesses of late and they haven’t been anything other than supportive.  I think it’s amazingly encouraging for me.”

“What I’m learning more than anything at Aspire first and foremost is working with other people and leading other people. Some of the people there don’t have as much on hand experience as I have, so it’s kind of nice to teach and help other people.”

“My immediate goals are to find my own place and then work full time for Aspire, because I like the job, I like the people and the ethos of the company.”

“To anyone thinking about St Vincent’s, it has helped my immeasurably in turning what was a pretty bleak outlook for my life into something which today I have genuine aspirations and hope for the future.”

“Aspire do great things for people that wouldn’t otherwise necessarily have got a chance. I would absolutely champion the cause of both.”

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Our new Social Enterprise Area Manager

2017 January 19 by

Esther Passingham joined Julian House 6 months ago as the Social Enterprise Area Manager, responsible for the Julian House Bike Workshops and Aspire Property Maintenance.

She moved to Bristol to join Julian House from Worcestershire where she had managed and developed charities and social enterprises since 2000.

Helen Bedser, Business Development Director said “we are delighted that Esther has joined the team. She has a wealth of experience in developing organisations, which I am sure will help to make the social enterprises even more successful”.

Esther said, “The challenge is to consistently achieve strong social outcomes, excellent customer service and robust finances within each of the social enterprises. To achieve this, the hard work and commitment of every staff member and volunteer is vital. It is a fantastic organisation to be part of, and I feel extremely excited about what we can all achieve together”.

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NatWest community fund winners

2015 July 28 by

Cheryl Gourlay, NatWest Regional Enterprise Manager, with Michael Sharratt, Trowbridge Bike Workshop Manager.

Julian House will now be able to employ a dedicated employment support worker for its Trowbridge Bike Workshop thanks to its award of £22,479.

The charity is one of six not-for-profit organisations around the South West who are receiving a share of NatWest’s Skills and Opportunities Fund. The winners were chosen from more than 1,000 applicants nationwide.

The fund is dedicated to supporting projects in disadvantaged communities that help people to help themselves by learning new skills, getting into the world of work or setting up their own business, and it will share £2.5 million this year.

Julian House works across Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire, providing socially excluded people with accommodation, support, skills development training and work experience opportunities to improve their life choices and chances.

Cecil Weir of Julian House said: “This support from NatWest will make a real difference to our work with some of the marginalised members of society. Julian House already has a good track record of setting up successful social enterprise projects. We know that they are an effective way to deliver valuable work experience and training opportunities for individuals with a history of homelessness, addiction, offending or long term unemployment.

“However, experience has also shown that promoting the benefits of the project to a diverse client group is really important, as is supervising the participants through training courses.  The funding from NatWest will allow us to appoint a part-time support worker to do this work.  This will mean more clients benefiting, much better prospects for their future and more progress for them back into employment.”

The winning South West organisations were chosen from a shortlist of 13 by a panel of judges from NatWest’s South West and Wales Regional Board, along with a public vote which counted as one vote.

Cheryl Gourlay, NatWest Regional Enterprise Manager, with Michael Sharratt, Trowbridge Bike Workshop Manager.Board chairman Haydn Thomas said: “It was a challenging decision because of the standard of entries we received. But the panel felt that the Julian House project could have a massive impact on the self esteem and confidenceof the individuals who will take part in the Trowbridge Bike Workshop, giving them a real boost in terms of skills and employability.

“Our congratulations and best wishes for the project go to Julian House, and I’d encourage anyone who wasn’t successful this time to try again when applications open for the next round.”

Thom Kenrick, Head of Community Programmes at RBS and NatWest, said: “We are delighted with the response to our new Skills and Opportunities Fund and pleased to support such fantastic local community organisations with much-needed funds to help their projects get off the ground or expand even further.”

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Bike Workshop Julian House opens in Bristol

2014 November 18 by

Bike Workshop Julian House Bristol
On Saturday 15th November, Julian House opened their third social enterprise bike workshop. Stephen Williams, the MP for Bristol West and Undersecretary of State for Communities and Local Government opened the workshop, which sells value refurbished bikes and servicing and also provides training and work experience opportunities for some of the most marginalised members of society.

Bike Workshop Julian House in Bristol is closely modelled on similar Julian House social enterprises in Bath and Trowbridge. Vulnerable individuals, mainly with a history of homelessness and/or addiction issues, are given the opportunity to gain job skills and specialist training on bike maintenance. Donated second-hand bikes are carefully refurbished and sold to the public – along with quality second hand parts and accessories. All profits are either reinvested into the business or used to provide other front line homeless/addiction services.

Simon Brand, the charity’s Social Enterprise Operations Manager, is excited by the prospects for Bike Workshop Bristol – “Our original bike workshop started out in a very modest way – a few bikes were renovated in the back yard of our offices. It was something that the clients enjoyed and where possible we allowed them to take the machine away – very empowering when you are at the bottom of society’s pile. From there it developed into a business which now gives lots of clients valuable work experience. Customers should feel justifiably proud that their support will give real opportunity to some of the most marginalised members of society and help to fund other front line homeless and addiction services.”

Although staff and volunteers have been building up stocks over the last few months, Simon calls on the public to dust off of those old bikes at the back of their sheds and allow Bike Workshop Julian House to give them a new lease of life.

The workshop’s opening hours are 0900-1730 Tuesday – Saturday. For further information telephone 0117 951 2541 or email Damian Towers;

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