A Brixton-based initiative is seeking donations of cash and unused bikes to help BAME and other young people travel safely to school, work and around London.
Phil Dobson established upCYCLE in June 2020, inspired by the global Black Lives Matter movement, he felt the need to help young ethnically diverse people in London.
“As a person of colour, I was devastated to see the inordinate effect that Covid-19 was having on London’s ethnically diverse community,” he says.
“Some people from minority ethnic groups were twice as likely to die from the virus as white people.”
And, he points out, “one of the most dangerous places to be during the pandemic is on public transport.”
Despite it being unsafe, many people from London’s ethnically diverse community have had to continue to travel to work, school or to care for family members throughout the pandemic, Phil says.
“Many others are now facing extreme financial difficulty and can no longer even afford to travel by public transport,” he adds.
Early in August, upCYCLE moved into The Remakery in Lilford Road from where Phil works with charities all over London to donate unused and refurbished bikes so that young ethnically diverse people can travel around London safely.
His nearby neighbours Brixton Cycles have offered to donate bikes left with them because they are too expensive for the owners to fix.
Since mid-June, Phil has raised £2,500 of the £5,000 upCYCLE needs to deliver 50 bikes, received donations of more than 20 bikes following a BBC 5 Live radio interview, and donated five bikes to Carney’s Community in Battersea.
Now Phil is planning four-week “earn a bike” bike evening maintenance workshops for young people in the community – who will keep the bike at the end of it.
The Remakery space will also be used as a base for social rides.
“I’m trying to get in touch with community projects in Brixton and raise the profile of upcycle,” he says.
“The time for collective action is long overdue. Please donate whatever you can or get in touch if you have an unused bike – together we can help make a difference.
Keep up to date with Phil and upCycle on their Instagram: @upcycleldn_
You can donate cash at gofundme
If you are local and have a bike to donate, upCYCLE will pick it, safely – contact firstname.lastname@example.org