Helping families in Fife through the power of bikes.

Working to overcome inequalities

Bikeworks is a charity working to provide life skills and sustainable, affordable transport to people in Fife through refurbishing unwanted bikes, providing cycle repairs and delivering training and employment opportunities. Based in Glenrothes, a town where some communities fall within the 20% most deprived category in Scotland, the charity aims to overcome inequalities, transport poverty and barriers to cycling.

Multiple barriers to bikes

Bikeworks applied to and were funded by the Cycling Friendly Community development fund in 2018 to help them deliver bikes and equipment to vulnerable families in Fife. These families face multiple barriers to cycling: those supported by Fife Women’s Aid who have experienced domestic abuse often lose places to store their bikes once they’ve been relocated to a new home, and those working with Fife Gingerbread simply cannot afford bikes or cycling equipment.

How the funding has helped

Through £6,540 from the Cycling Friendly Community development fund, Bikeworks purchased 60 bikes, 69 helmets and 6 child seats giving access to bikes to even more vulnerable families referred to the charity’s Bike Life Fife project.

Rory Sillar, Volunteer Director at Bikeworks said that this has allowed more people to have a way of getting to work and school, as well as making it possible to join led rides for family groups. “We deliver the bikes and helmets to the families, and in many cases have seen the pleasure the bikes give, particularly to the children. In many cases once we adjust the seats the children ride off into the street or to the park.”

Supporting vulnerable groups

The funding has allowed Bikeworks to support specific groups in the area: supplying six bikes fitted with child seats to Fife Gingerbread’s “Dad & Me” project that supports dads, grandads and male carers in Levenmouth who have children between 0 and three years old.

[Delivery of bikes to community police team]

Bike training

They have also been able to provide bikes for Bikeability training in local schools to ensure that all children can take part: Rory explains that “some kids will not readily disclose the lack of a bike until the training is up and running, thereby missing out on the wider aspects beyond the training itself.” The funding has allowed them to help overcome this limiting barrier.

Recommending the programme to other community projects looking to use bikes to support their local area, Rory said it’s “an excellent fund, with clear definition and intent, that is delivered effectively by Cycling Scotland.”

You can find out more about becoming a Cycling Friendly Community here.