Colchester’s Community Cycle Project

Essex Local Delivery Pilot

In Colchester, 110 unwanted wheeled items are being donated to charity groups, local families, and asylum seekers to help support Colchester’s most disadvantaged communities. This Community Cycle project has been funded by the Essex Local Delivery Pilot (LDP) and aims to get more people cycling, encourage active travel and improve mental health.

In 2022, a partnership formed between Colchester City Council, En-form, Colchester Anti-Loo Roll Brigade and Route 51 Cycle Project, to set up the Community Cycle initiative. So far, they have had an overwhelming response and 110 unwanted bikes, skateboards and scooters have been donated by the local community to be upcycled. With a mix of both adult and children’s bikes, these have since been refurbished and to date 23 bikes have been donated to local charities including Bridgeway Mission and Community360.

Bridgeway Mission, who support asylum seekers moving to Colchester, and Community360, who lead on a wide range of community projects, were both selected for the scheme because of their strong ties with some of Colchester’s most vulnerable residents.

As well as giving residents the means to cycle more, the donated bikes have allowed residents to access key services, work and education opportunities, and enable them to explore more of Colchester’s vast countryside.

Souzan Yousif, Founder of Bridgeway Mission, said: “We are so pleased to have received the first batch of bikes for the asylum seekers we work with, all of whom ride them back to their hotels with smiles on their faces.

“At Bridgeway, we are excited to see how physical freedom and exercise will help to decrease anxiety and improve mental wellbeing for the vulnerable people we work with. Kind gestures like these can make a world of difference to a refugee.”

The Community Cycle initiative is just the first step in helping residents to access free quality bikes in Colchester. Essex Pedal Power, which was piloted in Clacton and Jaywick Sands, will be launching in Greenstead later this year, whereby eligible residents over the age of 16 will be able to apply for a free bike, as well as join new community cycling clubs.

In addition, with RideLondon-Essex coming to Colchester for the first time this year on Friday 26th May for stage 1 of the RideLondon Classique, it is the hope that cycling events just like this will encourage more people to either get back on their bikes or learn how to cycle.