Cardiff Cycle Workshop – Powered by volunteers

Cardiff Cycle Workshop – Powered by volunteers

Cycle Training Wales is an award-winning social enterprise that provides cycling and bike maintenance skills training. Their mission is to increase access to cycling and to reduce the number of bikes going on the scrapheap. Volunteers are the lifeblood of the workshop and to date this thriving social enterprise has been powered by almost 100 volunteers.

Cycle Training Wales was set up in 2007 by Nick Grant-Canham and Andrew Burns as a not for profit social enterprise to deliver cycling and bike maintenance skills training. In 2010 Cardiff Cycle Workshop began in a small unit in Ely Bridge, working in partnership with Cardiff Council’s Household Waste Recycling centre, they help to reuse and recycle bikes which are then sold to general public.

Nine years on the workshop employs four members of staff and is currently supported by 20 or more volunteers, who together will have refurbished a record-breaking 677 bikes between 2018-2019; an increase of 92 more bikes than the previous year.

Cardiff Cycle Workshop’s success is in part due to the enthusiasm and commitment of the employees, but the real value lies in the diversity and inter-generational nature of the people who come to learn and share their skills and knowledge. This has included retired people, students, young people, people with mental health issues, alzheimers sufferers, people on probation, company directors, both male and female, from many different ethnicities.

“Without the volunteers the whole enterprise would fail, The volunteers themselves bring a huge variety of skills, knowledge, passion, experiences, stories and so on that we would not ordinarily encounter, making the workshop a very rich, diverse and positive environment to be in. That benefits everyone working there really.”

There are typically 3-4 volunteers working on repairs in the workshop each day, contributing to over 400 hours’ worth of labour each month. By building in volunteering as part of the enterprise model, it enables them to repair bikes at a fraction of the cost, keeping the sale price affordable to the public and therefore the workshop can be sustainable self-sufficient.

Alongside the obvious benefits to the volunteers such as training, skills and experience; the team work really hard to make them feel valued and to make sure they know how important they are. They do not offer formal training as such, but they team ensures there is always a supervising member of staff in hand to show them how to do things as well as getting a handle on their skill level.

They also run occasional social events and also offer more tangible benefits like access to bike parts at trade prices through their suppliers; discounts on sale bikes; additional training courses and privileged access to the donated bikes for their own use.

Download the Cardiff Cycle Workshop case study

About this project

This case study is part of the #iwill campaign supporting youth social action.

The #iwill campaign is an opportunity for employers in Wales to show their support for youth social action among young people. This includes activities such as volunteering, campaigning and fundraising, all of which create multiple benefits to employers, to communities and young people themselves.

Cynnal Cymru is working with the WCVA (Wales Council for Voluntary Action) and Volunteering Wales to provide practical information and support to employers on how they can embed social action into their sustainability strategy or Corporate Social Responsibility Policy.