The Green Bike Project – a student led bicycle maintenance project at the University of Birmingham have this monday received £8000 of National Lottery funding to help set up their workshop on campus by the Learning Centre. Supporting the Green Bike Project both as a member and an officer was one of my main manifesto points and I’m incredibly glad that we have reached such a major milestone so early in the year.
A group of us have been working hard over summer to bring the idea of the first student cooperative on campus into reality, having skype meetings and meeting with allsorts of people. We received help and advice from the local Birmingham Bike Foundry, the Cooperative Developement Hub in Coventy. The project has been receiving support from all corners with the university investing £7700 into the premise over summer and the officer team signing off the purchase of a £900 toolkit as part of Community Action Officer Sean Farmelo’s manifesto pledge to help the Green Bike Project get off its feet, and support community projects.
The shop will be entirely separate from the Guild, as its own distinct business registered with the FSA and will be open to all members and run by its members. It will be fully democratic and run by a system of general meetings where everyone’s votes are counted equally.
The premise is located in a shed between the Learning Centre and Biosciences building, and we are in the process of signing the tenancy agreement with the university for the space. After which we will be able to move in and start installing the furniture.
The Green Bike Project has the aim of increasing ridership on campus and creating a social hub for cyclists which will spread the idea of sustainable transport, and healthiness while reducing travel costs for students.
There will be tools and teaching available and volunteers at the project will help put on cycling related events and training. The non profit organisation will also be selling refurbished bicycles at knock-down prices to help out students that need bikes but can’t afford them at retail prices.
The funding means the shop will be opening its doors imminently, it will also be able to hire a sessional worker to help get the project off the ground, providing a meaningful part time job for someone in the community – something rare in the current economic climate. The group hold regular meetings and are reaching out for people to get involved in the setup of the shop. The next stage is to prepare for the grand opening of the shop! Facebook group can be searched for as ‘Green Bike Project’.