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Bikes for refugees

Donate old bikes to provide free and healthy transport for refugees and asylum seekers living in the UK
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Bikes for refugees

The Bike Project has launched an appeal for unused and abandoned bikes to boost the number of bicycles the charity is able to renovate and provide to refugees and asylum seekers.

With the recent arrival of 82,100 Ukrainian refugees to the UK, The Bike Project – a UK charity that provides refurbished second-hand bikes to refugees and asylum seekers – has never been in more demand. This latest appeal has been launched in response to its long waiting list.

Anyone can donate a bike at one of the numerous bike drop-off points, the majority of which are based in Greater London and the West Midlands.

Members of the public can also host their own pop-up drop-off points in their workplace, garden (if the space allows) or within their community.

‘The evolving situation in Ukraine is heart-breaking for all of us at The Bike Project. We know that millions of people are being displaced, and many will seek refuge and asylum in the UK. As we have done for almost 10 years with displaced individuals from other countries, we are supporting Ukrainian asylum seekers and refugees by providing bikes, so they can settle more easily into their new lives in the UK.

‘A bike can help provide a safe, free method of transport so they can access vital services such as immigration support and food banks. It can be a means of exercise and a way of connecting with a community of cyclists. We have already supported 23 Ukrainian refugees and asylum seekers, but need the public’s support to provide bikes to many more.’

Founder & CEO of The Bike Project

Cost-efficient transport

With a bike, a refugee – who has often fled persecution and atrocity in their country of origin, arriving with little to no possessions and living of £39.63 a week – can access the essential services they need such as food banks, legal advice, healthcare, education and more, without the cost of public transport.

A bike provides a cost-efficient means of travel, making refugees and asylum seekers’ money go further and giving them a chance of sustaining themselves until their future is settled.

Research shows cycling provides refugees with independence, an increase in self-esteem, a boost to physical and emotional wellbeing and many other benefits.

‘On the 24th of February, my family had to leave Ukraine after the Russian invasion. Before then we lived a normal life, my eight-year-old daughter had been going to school and I had been working in one of the best companies in Ukraine. But unfortunately when the war started we did not feel safe, and I made the difficult decision to leave Ukraine and my family.

‘On the 26th April me, my daughter and my mom arrived in the United Kingdom. As newcomers we had no experience of London life, and we missed much of our previous life and habits, one of them being bike riding. My daughter started riding a bike at the age of three, we explored all the routes and parks in Kyiv, and we missed it very much.

‘Our host did his best to help us, he found out about the Bike Project and made a bike application for my daughter. In early June we went to the Bike Project to pick up our new bikes, I did not tell my daughter ‘til the last minute where we were going, it was a real surprise, I have not seen her so happy and excited for a very long time.

‘Having a bike here reminds us of our previous life and gives us a taste of it. We feel freedom riding bikes! Our bikes allow us to explore London, be independent and keep healthy. I would love people to donate their bikes to make another person’s dream come true. Unfortunately refugees have come to the United Kingdom not because of a good life, all of them have their own hard and sad story.’

38, a Ukrainian refugee

Donate unloved bikes

Since its launch in 2013, The Bike Project has provided almost 10,000 bikes to refugees from over 30 countries – but there’s currently a waiting list of 250 people in need of a bike.

According to Transport for London, over 27,000 bikes are abandoned every year in London alone, and thousands more are rusting away – unused and unloved – in sheds or stairwells across the UK.

To help The Bike Project to provide more bikes to refugees in need, donate a used bike at one of the charity’s drop-off points or host your own pop-up drop-off point in your community.

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