I plan to investigate the economic impact of community bike projects in the UK, and propose a new model of investment for them.
There are a large number of these types of projects, which are usually co-operatives or volunteer-led.
While their areas of impact may vary, — rehabilitating ex-prisoners, providing free transport to refugees, or offering skills to NEETs, to name just a few — they share many of the same challenges. They mostly rely on volunteers, donations and subsidised rent: things that are always in flux.
What these types of projects need the most is a structured and permanent income that can fund their community outreach programmes, help them to employ permanent staff, and allow them to afford commercial rent or buy their property outright to ensure a lasting future.
Of course, there are an endless number of community programmes in the UK that are in desperate need of funding. What makes a bike project so special?
That’s what I intend to outline in my thesis. I want to find a way to quantify the economic impact these projects have in order to show that an investment in a bike project is an investment in a community.
I plan to approach this through the lens of social exclusion and inclusion, transport equity and sustainable communities.