The Bike Project United Kingdom
Refugees and asylum seekers flee their homes because of war, or fear of persecution. Claiming asylum is lengthy process and during this process, asylum seekers cannot seek employment. Instead, they are given a weekly allowance of £38 for all their needs besides accommodation. Getting around using public transport can be costly, which restricts asylum seekers and refugees from accessing the services and amenities they need to build a new life. These barriers not only restrict access to legal and medical assistance, they also prevent them from integrating into the community. The Bike Project’s mission is to provide alternate means of transport through cycling.
In 2020, QBE supported The Bike Project to deliver their cycling program Pedal Power in London and Birmingham, employing five female cycling instructors to support cycle training for refugee women. Pedal Power was created because The Bike Project realised that most of the beneficiaries of their programs were male. By engaging with refugee women, they learnt that many had come from backgrounds of trauma and sometimes societies where they had not been encouraged to cycle. This program helps to tackle inequality by ensuring female refugees can enjoy the same benefits of cycling and bike ownership and lessons with trained instructors learning to be competent and cycle safely on the road. During lockdown, The Bike Project also provided online training and social sessions each week, supporting the participants in developing new skills and knowledge on topics such as bike maintenance, nutrition, and route planning.
This program assists in the achievement of UN SDG10 and SDG11, making cities more inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, providing an accessible option for those in vulnerable situations.