Cycling Minds was incorporated in Hexham (Northumberland) in November 2021 by three locals with a love of cycling to support people struggling to engage with society and the job market, find their way in life and achieve their full potential – especially those experiencing poor mental health and/or not in education, employment or training. We provide them with free access to an e-bike to take part in our Step On(e) guided ride programme, principally to help enhance their mental and physical health but also to encourage them to join Cycling Minds which acts as an anchor organisation, offering them opportunities to interact with the local cycling community and receive training through our Persevere to Succeed workplace training programme as bike mechanics and ride leaders and in customer service to be able to volunteer (and eventually gain paid work) in a fun, sociable and nurturing environment at The Link Community Cycle Hub we opened in April 2022.
What we'll deliver:
- Deliver 3 twelve-week Persevere to Succeed bike mechanic training programmes for beneficiaries over 12 months
- Run 4 eight-week Step On(e) guided e-bike ride programmes for beneficiaries over 12 months
- Re-hire a bike mechanic to service bikes & refurbish donated bikes to sell and generate revenue to fund our work
- Re-hire a bike mechanic to train volunteers and beneficiaries
- Re-hire General Manager to manage Cycling Minds and serve as a bike mechanic, ride leader and volunteer coordinator
- Purchase storage equipment, furniture and IT equipment needed at The Link to deliver our charitable work
- Partially cover rent for The Link, which is the base for our charitable work
- Continue operating The Link Community Cycle Hub, already a great community asset, for the next 12 months
- Continue to refurbish donated bikes and sell them at low prices, with a target of 50 bikes over 12 months
- Continue to deliver free community outreach activities, with a target of 15 events in next 12 months
Why it's a great idea:
From the beginning, Cycling Minds' core social purpose and how it fulfils this has been inspired by extensive talks with numerous local social and health care providers, principally The Living Well Service and charities such as Adapt North East and Hexham Youth Initiative.
They have been hugely enthusiastic about Cycling Minds because, as they have pointed out, it targets an age group that is currently underprovided for in Northumberland. Referrers report a lack of options for them to signpost the young people they care for to organisations offering sports-related activities for that cohort, particularly sports that are non-competitive and outdoors. We are helping to fill this gap while also going a step further and giving our young participants a chance to learn new transferrable skills and build self-confidence to gain a foothold in the labour market.
Steps to get it done:
- Re-hire bike mechanic to deliver training, fix customers bikes and refurbish donated bikes by 1 June 2023
- Re-hire General Manager to manage Cycling Minds by 1 June 2023
- Buy storage equipment, furniture and IT equipment for The Link by 1 June 2023
- Buy e-bikes to expand capacity to deliver charitable programmes and bike hire service by 1 June 2023
- Grow revenue streams at The Link by opening 2 more days a week (5 in total from 3 now) by 1 June 2023
- Commercialise Ageing Well solution (funded by NoT Combined Authority) to generate additional revenue by September 2023
- Deliver 3 twelve-week Persevere to Succeed bike mechanic training programmes for beneficiaries by 1 June 2024
- Run 4 eight-week Step On(e) guided e-bike ride programmes for beneficiaries by 1 June 2024
- Continue operating The Link Community Cycle Hub over the next 12 months
An example of the significant impact of our Persevere to Succeed programme is K who has SEN and was referred by a local SEN college. He attends The Link weekly to learn how to fix bikes and will be staying with Cycling Minds beyond his time at the college, which the college is very pleased about because otherwise he would not have had anything to move on to. We use a Wellbeing Wheel to assess how our programmes impact participants in areas such as mental health, confidence, social inclusion and all K’s scores all have improved.
"K’s placement has given him masses and masses of confidence, and improved his communication skills with the public. He now acts more independently and more knowledgeably, will discuss things sensibly and come up with new suggestions. He is expressing his views – prior to coming to Cycling Minds, this is something he would not do readily," says the organisation that referred K to Cycling Minds.