Case Study: Re-Cycling to learn new skills

How our Re-Cycle Bikes project helps our service users adapt to a working environment

Re-Cycle Bikes is a Southampton based bike recycling workshop that is run by volunteers. We aim to sell and services bikes at affordable prices and allow people to volunteer from both the community and via Homeless services.

For many homeless people, paid work is not an immediate option as it is too far of a jump from the chaotic nature of their current life styles. A person needs to move through a series of steps, starting with activities that have purpose and direction. This would lead on to skills and disciplines required for formal paid work. This is where the Recycle Bike work shop enables people to engage in a work place setting without the pressure of paid work. It also develops skills required for paid work.

Participation in activities can offer many benefits to people recovering from Homelessness. Activities can add structure to people’s days, helping them to develop confidence, self-esteem and social skills, as well as skill that may increase their employability and readiness for work. Activities can be instrumental in reducing feelings of boredom and loneliness and can act as a catalyst, motivating people to make positive changes. Perhaps most importantly, activities can greatly improve well-being and quality of life for individuals who may have experienced extremely traumatic events or be faced with a great deal of stress.

Case Study

Recycle has been operating within Southampton for over 9 years. In that 9 years of working within Southampton, Re-cycle has built partnerships with Sustrans, My Journey, Hampshire Police, British Red Cross, Solent University, Re-fit and Saints for Sports to name a few. 

Recycle Bikes offers learning and training opportunities for the service users of the Society of St James and volunteers from the wider community to help grow and sustain the use of bicycles as transport.

Leroy has been volunteering for the past year and has also struggled to how down a job due to his mental health. He can come and go without pressure and able to engage with support should he need it in crisis. “Volunteering at recycle bikes has saved me many times from myself and enables me be work outside on my own and focus on something I enjoy.”

Donald was initially a customer who came to the scheme to buy a bike as he had very little income. He was interested in bikes but had learning difficulties and came away from school with no qualifications and limited job opportunities. This was 5 years ago now and he is a fully CyTech trained and runs the workshop alongside the Service Manager. “I feel part of a team and it has helped my confidence with the public. I feel valued and have completed courses to gain knowledge and it’s given me a purpose in life.” 

 How you can help:

You can donate your old bikes to Re-Cycle bikes by emailing 

And if you are looking for a bike to use this year, why not buy one of the refurbished bikes and help support Re-Cycle Bikes to improve the lives of our service users.

You can also make contact by visiting their Facebook page.