Ferguslie Park Housing Association
Ferguslie Park Housing Association, a community-based social housing provider in Paisley applied to the Social Housing Fund, to build a cycling hub that could house a local community cycling project called Own Yer Bike.
Own Yer Bike
The Own Yer Bike project provides a free service to children and young adults within the community, teaching basic bike maintenance skills. They also distribute free bikes that have been reclaimed from scrap, encouraging use of bikes in and around the social housing, as well as encouraging active travel to and from the local areas.
The project previously occupied ad-hoc spaces within the local community centre, but needed a purpose-built space for a workshop and storage. Bike racks existed within the community centre grounds, however these weren’t under cover or monitored by CCTV or staff. The fund was used to purchase two storage containers to house the project and link these to power and water supplies, as well as improve the existing cycle storage facilities. The bikes are now safely stored in the new units, which are linked to a permanent power supply.
The community was consulted on the use of the funding and approved its use for a dedicated space for the project, and a map highlighting local walking and cycling routes.
The new facilities have also acted as a catalyst to greater collaboration with other community groups and additional containers for storage has further expanded the Own Yer Bike presence.
More people cycling, learning how to look after their bikes, and supporting the community
Own Yer Bike received funding to provide local families with free bikes, safety equipment and repairs, in collaboration with Ferguslie Park Housing Association. Since then, Own Yer Bike have been part of the UK Government’s free bike repair scheme and have secured further funding from Renfrewshire Council to carry out free and subsidised repairs across the local authority area and is currently supporting local schools with their Bikeability Scotland scheme.
Marc Small, Chairperson and founder of Own Yer Bike said: “Whilst Own Yer Bike has been incredibly successful over the past year or so, this would never have been possible without the support of Ferguslie Park Housing Association and Cycling Scotland. The additional space has allowed us to respond to community needs, particularly during the pandemic, and expand our services. It’s resulted in more people cycling, more people learning how to look after their bike and more people volunteering their time to support their community. We’ve also prevented a huge number of bikes going to landfill by repairing them, and recycling them.”
Own Yer Bike has started its bike repair club for young people, and thanks to funding from Engage Renfrewshire and the Scottish Government, is about to set up a volunteer project for older people experiencing isolation and lonliness.
Future associated funding bids are planned for pathways, and seating and planters may be purchased with remaining funds. The community map is now the focus of an additional funding application to Cycling Friendly Community development grants and further funding options are being explored to purchase more bikes, allowing for more people in the community to cycle.