Monty’s Bike Hub is a project run by Monty’s Community Hub based in Southampton and is an example of local people using their skills and knowledge to support others in the community, empowering them to achieve and address local aims and priorities.
The two-year project based in the housing estates of Sholing and Bitterne brings members of the local community together to repair and re-sell second hand bikes. Focused on bringing opportunities for people to gain skills and qualifications, the group have regular adult and youth bike workshops as well as regular opportunities for local people to meet up for bike rides and events.
Monty’s Bike Hub is run by Josh who has been working to engage residents in the local community for over five years, and has watched as the Community Hub has gone from strength to strength. Placing an emphasis on improving the life chances of young people in the community, the project engages with local schools to provide pupils experiencing disadvantage with the practical skills they need to fix and maintain their own bikes.
When asked what inspires him to continue the work, Josh points to one particular member, David, who inspires him. At 78, David is the oldest member of the project and has been a cornerstone of the work they do since the outset.
Josh says, “Watching young kids learn new skills is all the inspiration you really need, but David is a real asset to our project. Whether it’s simply providing a listening ear or physically repairing a bike, his dedication to the project keeps us going and keeps the whole place ticking over.”
The project has been successful in bringing the community together and encouraging intergenerational connections and providing support to those who want to learn new skills, and subsequently help support and continue the project in their own way.
Josh continues: “I’ve known loads of these kids since they were 9 or 10, and now that they are in their teens, we are trying to provide positive activities that engage them at a developmental time, and teach them skills they can use on their own, for their lives or future employment. Funnily enough, they always tend to come by the bike hub when they need a hand with something or if they need a bit of advice. I suppose the best way to describe it is that they know we will be there for them, no matter what.”
Monty’s Bike Hub was funded through People’s Health Trust’s Active Communities programme with money raised through Health Lottery South East.
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