Health and wellbeing

Funding level: £10,001 to £25,000


Named 'Best Project' 2016 by BBC Radio Four (All in the Mind award) and 'Glasgow Community Champion' 2015, Common Wheel provides much needed meaningful activities for people with mental illness in Glasgow.

Mental illness can result in unemployment, leading to a negative cycle of deteriorating mental wellbeing and further isolation. Common Wheel's 'Build your own Bike' project (BYOB) aims to break this cycle.

BYOB is a fun, social activity designed to support people with mental illness in socialising and learning new skills. Participants learn how to build a new bike from a donated second hand bike. They also develop their softer skills such as teamwork, following instructions and communication skills. Participants also highlight an improvement in their overall mental health after taking part in this activity.

The BYOB course consists of 10, weekly, half-day sessions led by two highly skilled Bike Engineers working from our two fully equipped bike workshops in Glasgow.

During the first week participants pick a bike frame from our extensive stock of donated second hand bikes. They are guided in taking apart the old bike, cleaning the usable components, and reassembling it using new and recycled parts. By week 10 their recycled bike is ready and they can take the completed bike home.

"Attending the bike project at Common Wheel really gave me some structure and set me up for the rest of the week. It really helped with getting into a routine after being off work for so long."

The project supports a further 15-20 volunteers. This is a group of participants who have completed the BYOB course and have asked to stay on and contribute to the social enterprise part of the project. As formal volunteers they work on bike repairs for the general public and build new bikes from used bikes that we go on to sell in order to generate an income. This activity benefits the participants in all the ways in which the BYOB course does, as well as helping Common Wheel to generate an income to support future work.

Sometimes new participants do not have the capacity or ability to take part in the structured 10-week course. For this group of people we offer a weekly 'Bike Building' classes. There is no formal syllabus, instead participants work on part of a bike (e.g. gear system) each week and at their own pace. The classes run throughout the year (once a week) and participants can attend as and when they are able.

BYOB is so much more than Bike Building, our Bike Engineers offer to chat through any general challenges our clients may be facing. This is usually in a one-to-one setting or sometimes can be as part of an informal group discussion. We have a comprehensive list of supporting agencies and seek to signpost our clients to organisations that can provide the relevant support.

"I would recommend Common Wheel’s bike project to anyone else facing mental health difficulties. It gave me structure and support, as well as letting me work with my hands on something practical. Although I myself enjoy cycling, you absolutely don’t have to be into bikes to benefit from the course, it builds your confidence, gives you structure and it was something really enjoyable to look forward to every Tuesday."

If successful, this award would help to ensure the project is sustainable for a further 12 months by part funding the following:
- our Bike Engineers' salaries
- our Assistant Project Manager's salary
- the workshop rent and utilities
- the bike spare parts

Over a 12 month period 100 new clients benefit from this project and 15-20 volunteers are given the chance to develop their skills further. In addition, more than 100 bikes per year are saved from landfill and all participants are able to keep the bike they made, supporting a more active, healthy lifestyle.

Project Video

Common Wheel

Moment of Pride

The difference Common Wheel makes to the lives of people with mental illness is very visible.

“I’d like to get back into work. Common Wheel came at a good time; it was a part of my recovery".

We are a dedicated team, driven by shared values, putting our clients at the centre of all we do.

Location: Glasgow