The Bike Project, the charity providing refurbished second-hand bikes to refugees and asylum seekers, has launched an appeal for London’s used or abandoned bikes to boost the number of bicycles the charity is able to renovate and share.
With nearly 10,000 9,526 Ukrainian refugees living across London under the Homes for Ukraine scheme, The Bike Project has never been in more demand and has launched its latest appeal in response to its long waiting list.
Members of the public keen to donate a bike can do so at one of the numerous bike drop-off points available in and around the capital (the nearest ones to Croydon are at Byne Road, Sydenham, and St Leonard’s Church, Streatham). The public can also host their own pop-up drop-off points in their workplace, garden (if the space allows) or within their community.
Jem Stein, The Bike Project’s founder, said: “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 living in London by providing bikes, so they can settle more easily into their new city.
“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.”
According to Transport for London, there are more than 27,000 bikes abandoned every year in London alone, and thousands more rusting away unused and unloved in sheds or stairwells across the country. Since its launch in 2013, The Bike Project has provided almost 10,000 bikes to refugees from more than 30 countries.
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 off just £39.63 a week – can travel in a cost-efficient way, making their 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, and a boost to physical and emotional well-being. For more information on The Bike Project, the Bike Donations Appeal, and how to donate a bike in London, visit www.thebikeproject.co.uk
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