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03/10/2012 // INFO Leave a comment

Cycle into Work film shows societal benefit of bicycles

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Bikeworks Film Screen Grab

We were lucky enough to attend the premiere of a new short film from Bikeworks yesterday afternoon (at London’s Barbican art and cinema complex) showcasing how the social enterprise business has helped train disadvantaged Londoners to become cycle mechanics in the cycling industry.

The inspiring and at times powerful film follows three Londoners as they turn their lives around following their participation on Bikework’s “Cycle into Work” programme.

What Cycle into Work does

The film, which is also called Cycle into Work, was made with the support of Barclays. Bikeworks’ overall Cycle into Work programme was launched in 2009 and gained financial backing from Barclays last year as part of the bank’s community investment initiative. This allowed Bikeworks to take more people on to the Cycle into Work programme.

Cycle into Work helps disadvantaged young people gain key skills, through bicycle building and maintenance. The ultimate aim for the programme is for its graduates to move towards a better future by getting a job.

The first stage of programme sees young people ‘Build a Bike” with Bikeworks (which they can keep) before being encouraged to do a Level 2 City & Guilds cycle mechanic qualification at a local college.

Life changing experience

Greg Hall, John Knowles and Shenol Shaddouh are the three Londoners who appear in the film. In the film they tell their personal stories and what “Cycle into Work” has done for them.

The story that grabbed us most in the film was Shenol’s story. Shenol, now aged 19, left school at 13 and became a career criminal stealing and selling bikes to make money.  After time in prison, Shenol was assigned a resettlement broker who found and placed him in the ‘Cycle Into Work’ programme after Shenol expressed a wish to work with bikes.

After building a bike with Bikeworks, Shenol signed up to do a Level 2 Mechanics course at Tower Hamlets College from which he then gained employment at Bikeworks itself. He now works full time in Bikework’s Bethnal Green shop.

As he says in the film, Shenol is keen ‘to rectify some of the bad karma from years of stealing bikes’ and is now using the knowledge from his criminal background to design a bike lock that is impenetrable to thieves.

Shenol’s story just shows that with proper support and given the opportunity, young disadvantaged people don’t have to follow a life of crime. The other two graduates who feature in the film, John and Greg, also credit Cycle into Work for turning their life around.

Success

Since Barclays involvement with ‘Cycle into Work’ began in November 2011, 28 out of 38 trainees have successfully graduated from the programme, with almost 80% of these now in full-time employment in the cycling industry, including the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme.

We’re a keen supporter of Bikeworks having partnered with them on the sale of some of their re-cycled bikes through our marketplace so it is great to see the business doing well and of course this film showcasing what they do.

The full film is available to watch online at Facebook.com/BarclaysBikes. Click on the Cycle into Work tab to view.



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