Tell us a little bit about your business:
Recyke y’bike is a charity based in Byker, Newcastle, and Chester-Le-Street. We are passionate about sustainability and much of our work involves repairing donated bikes which we either sell or give away to referred people. Last year we donated 300 referral bikes. We also do servicing and training and organise free bike repair workshops for various groups of people, targeting in particular those people who are most affected by the climate crisis, including asylum seekers and refuges, women and children. We collaborate with a number of community centres and schools to provide people with the knowledge and skills to maintain their bikes, and make this form of transport even more affordable. As for the bikes that we can’t refurbish, we strip them for parts that can be reused and recycle the rest – for example, some of our innertubes are turned into beautiful bags and purses by Velo Culture. We do this because we believe that bikes are great: they boost people’s physical and mental health, are environmentally friendly and provide an affordable means of transport. Research also shows that they have a positive effect in local economy, as pedestrians and cyclists are more likely to stop and buy products in high streets that people driving by. The majority of our income comes from the sales of bikes and servicing, which is complemented by grants allowing us to deliver outreach activities.
Who was the Citylife Expert(s) that provided you with support?
We worked with BIPC North East’s Website, Brand and Marketing Expert, Andy Ditchburn.
What was the nature of the support they provided?
Andy redesigned our website. When I arrived at Recyke y’bike last October, I listened to volunteers, staff, trustees and the public. Something that came up repeatedly was the dissatisfaction with our current website, which had been set up years ago by a trustee and had not been updated since. For example, there was no clear link to the bikes listed on Facebook, so potential clients had to call to ask whether a certain model or size was in store, which took up our staff time and discouraged clients, especially after Covid 19, when everyone has become so used to shop online. Our outreach activities were not clearly presented, so people who could have benefited did not know about them, and the website was not mobile-friendly. Andy and his team redesigned the website with updated information and implemented all the changes, so that now we can be proud of our website, which is ultimately today’s business card and the first point of contact for the majority of clients.
Has the support that you have received from the Citylife Business Support Expert(s) helped you to move your business forward? And how?
Definitely. Our website looks professional and modern, and it clearly represents who we are and what we do. We are already receiving more enquiries, customers, and volunteers, and have just welcomed 4 new young volunteers on our Saturday’s club.
Has the Citylife support that you received helped to safeguard the future of your business and any employees?
Yes. Having a modern and professional website is vital for us, as our income relies heavily on bikes sales and servicing, so it is important that people can have access to the listed bikes and that their first impression of us is positive. Having a separate page where our outreach work is clearly presented is equally important, as it allows people in need to reach out to us and at the same time it allows funding bodies and corporate business to see what we are doing and decide to support us. This is huge help at a time so difficult, where the cost-of-living crisis is putting a strain on businesses as people’s capacity to spend money is reduced and the market becomes even more competitive as a result.