During Refugee Week Norwich 2023 (19 - 25 June) we want to raise money to get as many new citizens of Norwich on two wheels as possible!
Together with New Routes, we're asking you to donate a bike, or a lock or a helmet and lights to asylum seekers and refugees. All you have to do is make a pledge and we'll do the rest!
In 2018 Bicycle Links launched a crowdfunding campaign to provide secondhand bikes to refugees and asylum seekers in Norwich. Working with partner organisations that already support migrant communities, and are well placed to refer applicants, it became the 'Welcome Wheels' project.
Since then hundreds of asylum seekers and refugees have benefitted from the bikes that are are donated to us by the general public, and that we upcycle and repair.
Asylum seekers and refugees are frequently housed a distance from the city centre. Giving them a refurbished second hand bicycle enables them to access education, English classes, volunteer sessions and social support, which helps them integrate into the community.
Every bike that we donate is supplied with a helmet, lock, bell and lights, to ensure that the rider is safe and meets legal requirements. Our Volunteer Refurbishing team also make sure that every bike is robust and able to carry shopping and child seats (if required) as well as rider.
When a refugee or asylum seeker comes to collect their bike, we check their cycling ability and make sure that they are aware of the rules of the road. For those that requested it, we also offered 'learn to ride' training with help from the County Council cycle instructor team (until 2021).
If you work with someone who is eligible for Welcome Wheels and needs a bicycle, or you are supporting refugees from Ukraine, please get in touch with one of our partner organisations to request a referral.