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London welcome project

LW bike project, Lambeth, London welcome project, Asylum seekers & refugees, 2014 , £ 4500

The London Welcome Project is a social centre for asylum seekers and refugees in Lambeth. It is open every Sunday, offering food, and a space to socialise. The project aims to break the isolation refugees and asylum seekers so often face.

The LW Bike Project takes disused or second hand bikes from local bike shops and other organisations. With the support of volunteers, members fix and service the bikes, so they are safe to ride and the bikes are then donated to members for their own personal use.

These maintenance sessions offer the opportunity to learn new skills,improving employment prospects, and also help users integrate into the local community. Providing a free mode of transport has proved vitally important for refugees and asylum seekers, who have used them to attend meetings with employers, go to English lessons and access other services including libraries, drop-in centres and healthcare. The project is also open to the local community, including children, many of whom are from BAME backgrounds.

With the CCFL grant, the Bike Project was able to remain sustainable throughout the season. Promotional flyers were distributed throughout the local community and new tools and parts increased the project’s capacity,able to offer services and equipment to more people in the community.For the first time, the project has delivered dedicated bike maintenance training to visitors and volunteers. The grant also funded a bike mechanics qualification, which helped the project take on a long-term Coordinator who,with other staff and volunteers, will help sustain the project in the coming months and years.