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Rebike project grant supports job mentoring roles

Rebike volunteers Am and Jacob

[A]ward winning social enterprise, Rebike Cumbria Ltd has been granted £9,825 in funding by Cumbria Housing Partners Fund, managed by Cumbria Community Foundation, to expand its successful job mentoring project which supports long-term unemployed into work.

Based in Carlisle, Rebike refurbishes and repairs donated bicycles for sale, providing a work based training environment for trainees and volunteers.  Geoffrey Tunstall, Director of Rebike said “Trainees often come to us with issues which makes it difficult for them to compete in the job market. For some a lack of confidence and social skills is a barrier; for others disrupted schooling means they don’t have the formal qualifications employers ask for. Whatever their issue, our only criteria to accepting to is that the trainee wants to participate and improve their employability skills so they can go on into voluntary or paid employment.

Their training includes bicycle maintenance, health and safety, and customer service. Additionally they learn how to work alongside others in a work place; this means the step from Rebike into another working environment is less daunting. By offering supported work placements we can help them get the work experience they need, so they can show an employer just what they are capable of contributing and achieving.  This grant will enable us to double the number of work placements we currently support and is a great boost to the project.

Pictured are two of Rebike’s recent trainees Jacob and Am.  Jacob has been a volunteer with Rebike for six years; he has just secured his first paid job and is still volunteering with us. Am is from Laos and has been volunteering with Rebike since early this year, he is planning to set up his own furniture workshop and is learning essential skills for running a business while being with us.”

John Clasper, Chair of Cumbria Housing Partners said, “Our community fund is aimed at supporting projects which offer opportunities for people to improve their employability skills.  As an established social enterprise, Rebike already has a proven track record of success with volunteer training – re-skilling as it recycles. By adding the work mentoring project as an extension of that training they are now able to give extra support and confidence to trainees as they take their first step into employment, we are pleased to be able to support them.

Annalee Holliday, Grants & Donor Services Officer for Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “The charity sector works closely with people facing disadvantage across the county in many ways and so is ideally positioned to help people back into employment. Rebike has achieved tremendous success over the years and this project aims to get more than 40 people into employment.  As a local business, Cumbria Housing Partners is pro-active in funding projects in the county that really make a difference to people’s lives.”

Cumbria Housing Partners is the only local procurement group for social housing landlords in Cumbria. We help our member landlords save time and money by buying materials and contractors for repair and maintenance work on their homes. By working together and using our combined buying power, we make savings for our members that can be reinvested to improve the lives and futures of people living in our communities.

Over the past year Cumbria Housing Partners Fund, administered by Cumbria Community Foundation, has provided grants to individuals, community and voluntary organisations for training and projects aimed at improving people’s employability or education. The £100,000 fund has also supported projects which provide advice and guidance, support and engage people in their local community, and improve community facilities.

For more information about their work contact: [email protected]

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