Bike Rescue began in a back garden in York with 53 bikes, back in 2006. We started with some dedicated volunteers, a credit card and a box full of our own tools. Since then, we’ve grown to a charity with nine employees (both part-time and full-time), 10-20 regular volunteers, a board of six trustees and two sites in York city centre.
Bike Rescue’s first premises
City of York Council supported the venture by offering two free units at Parkside Commercial Centre near the city centre, where we remained for four years.
Bike Rescue put forward a plan to convert a derelict substation into a Cycling Hub Station and raised £300,000 in grants and loans to make the move. It took four years for this to come to fruition and we moved into the Hub Station in January 2011.
Our two sites
The Hub Station is a community bike shop offering a range of quality refurbished bikes, low-cost bike repairs and servicing, as well as secure bike parking and expert advice.
Walmgate Warehouse houses our current collection of vintage and classic bikes as well as budget bikes waiting to be refurbished. We have over 300 bikes held here which the public are welcome to browse when the Warehouse is open. Production and training are also carried out here.
We’ve come a long way!
From exciting and tentative beginnings as a CIC, we’re now an established charity. Our self-generated income comes from repairs and sales of bikes and parts, rental of space, and contracts for training. We regularly receive grant funding to help us to run free courses and training for the unemployed and to take on trainees.
The costs of renting space are high and skilled mechanics are needed to ensure a high standard and quality of refurbishment. It is not an easy task to make a bike recycling scheme sustainable, but we are doing so, and willing to share our experience.
When we have vacancies, they are advertised on the website.
Bike Rescue continues to work hard to ensure our sustainability, and at the moment we are concentrating on expanding our training provision.
Bike Rescue has many loyal staff and volunteers without whom the project would never have got off the ground. It seems inconceivable that York would not have a bicycle recycling scheme, but it is only the energy and time of many volunteers and of dedicated staff that have made it possible… hats off to you all… Happy cycling.