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21/05/12 Pedal Power - Community Bike Project Gets Off The Ground

Getting people of all ages cycling, and helping young jobseekers at the same time, are the twin aims of an innovative, new local community enterprise. Set up by partners and volunteers, the Guildford Bike Project trains people to refurbish donated bikes. The bikes are then sold to the community at affordable prices.

John Thurlow, from Surrey Lifelong Learning Partnership, explains: "The project offers free skills, training and work experience to local job seekers and young people who are looking to make a fresh start. It will help build their confidence and provide experience of many different aspects of business and improve their chances of employment.

"The project will provide good quality second-hand bikes at an affordable price to the local community which should also improve access to jobs and training."

Based at Woking Road Depot, the project has been set up by Surrey Lifelong Learning Partnership, volunteers and Guildford Borough Council together with support from the Safer Guildford Partnership and Surrey County Council. Guildford Borough Council has also provided a workshop and a van for the project to use and Surrey County Council has contributed £12,000 to the project.

Says Guildford Borough Council's Lead Councillor for Stronger Communities and Services, Stephen Mansbridge: "The Guildford Bike Project is a great example of how partners can work together with local communities to offer real benefits to residents. It is an innovative way of providing local young people with access to new training and skills as well as encouraging healthy, sustainable and affordable transport. We're proud to be involved and would like to thank all the partners for their support".

Mark Brett-Warburton, Chairman of Surrey County Council's Local Committee for Guildford, adds: "We are very pleased to have been able to contribute £5,000 of the Travel Smart government funding which we successfully bid for last year. This funding is targeted at ways to make it quicker and easier for people to get around, while reducing carbon emissions and stimulating economic growth, and we felt this project fitted the bill perfectly".

The project will provide valuable opportunities to learn about all aspects of business and working practices, including customer service, accounts, management, marketing and stock control. The aim is to turn it into a social enterprise run by the community. It will transfer business skills as well as provide opportunities for people to develop a range of other skills.

If you would like to volunteer to help run the project, learn bike maintenance skills or buy a refurbished bike at an affordable price please contact the Guildford Bike Project. The project also plans to offer advice on safer cycling.

For more information call 07900 324495 or 01483 481789, or visit the Guildford Bike Project website (This link will open in a new window).

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