Service Spotlight: Build-a-Bike

Our Bike Workshops in Bath and Trowbridge both run Build-a-Bike sessions that are committed to offering vulnerable people opportunities to build confidence, learn skills and get a positive lift back into independence and employment.

We had a chat with Geraldine our employment support worker for the projects.

What is the Build-a-Bike service?

By building and repairing bikes, we believe that this provides a vast range of opportunities for vulnerable people to get involved. By taking part in the scheme, clients can build confidence, learn practical and people skills, and build on their self-esteem.

The course provides clients with an opportunity to disassemble and re-build a used bicycle, learning basic bicycle mechanics along the way at a gentle pace and finishing with a polished and well-running bike that they can keep for themselves as well as 3 AQA certificates.

The course lasts for four weeks, three hours per week in central Bath and Trowbridge, Wiltshire.

Who does the Build-a-Bike service support? What kind of clients do you work with?

Julian House Bike Workshops use bikes to tackle homelessness, loneliness, addiction and criminal rehabilitation. We also support refugees, domestic abuse victims, adults with complex learning difficulties and socially excluded clients.

We work with younger adults (16–18 year-olds) as well as adults.

Why is a bike workshop a good way to support clients with employment?

Participants can access support from our employment and skills lead whilst on the course. This enables them to be supported to use the skills they have learnt to access further training, work experience and employment.

They can also have 1-1 sessions, client-led, complete continuity support with: Writing CV’s and cover letters, interview techniques, signposting to partner organisations and Self-esteem building.

What sorts of challenges do your clients face?

Many of our clients have to tackle social exclusion in many forms. This is not easy and often presents itself as a combination of complex issues. These issues are widespread can leave individuals with poor mental health, vulnerable; excluding them from social support, healthcare and economic resource which then can lead to criminal behaviour, addiction, homelessness and unemployment

What are some of the successful outcomes you see from clients completing the course?

Clients who have been on the course have gained experience of working within a workplace. We have had clients who have gone on to further education, gained employment, as well as being signposted onto other wellbeing courses with partner agencies. Clients have fed back that their self-esteem as well their overall wellbeing has improved, and also have a sense of achievement after finishing their bikes and completing the course.

You can read a case study of one of Build-a-Bike clients here.