Bike Hub seeks to make oaks from acorns

Phillip Darnton tells Carlton Reid that Bike Hub has £100,000 to spend on ‘acorn’ projects...
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Bike Hub, the bicycle levy scheme, plans to create a funding pot for new projects that will get people on bikes.

The scheme raised £400,000 in 2008. £250,000 goes to the Bike It schools programme, which now has 41 officers working with hundreds of schools to get more kids on bikes. £50,000 goes to a mix of Bike Week, Bikeforall.net and other projects. That leaves £100,000 for the new funding pot.

Cycling England chairman Phillip Darnton says the £100,000 funding pot will be an annual project. He comments: "It would be wonderful if somebody applied who said they’d been nursing an idea they've never been able to find a sponsor for. We’re looking for projects that could be scaled up. We didn’t know that when we planted the Bike It acorn that it would become so successful. We want more ideas like that.

“The Bike Hub committee is adamant that the projects need to include some form of match funding. This shows a measure of commitment and seriousness for the proposition,” says Darnton, adding that the match funding need not be pound for pound.

The current members of the Bike Hub committee are Phillip Darnton; Richard Allmark of Fishers; Ian Beasant of Giant; John Moore of Moore Large; Richard Hemington of Specialized; and Chris Compton, Mark Brown and Andy Shrimpton representing the ACT.

Darnton says the £100,000 could go to one project or to four projects of £25,000 each. He further explains by saying: “Bike Hub is about safeguarding the future of cycling. We'll likely favour ideas to do with younger people because we feel that cycling needs to become a way of life for people. A good idea for a project might be a scheme to get more girls on bikes. These girls will become young women who might become mums and who will then influence whether their kids cycle to school.”

Bike shops can pitch for the Bike Hub money, so long as they can gain some amount of match-funding. Darnton also says the Bike Hub committee is open-minded about the kind of organisations that will get the cash. “We have no view on who the providers should be. But we will only consider schemes where the money is competent to manage the scheme. The Bike
Hub committee members are volunteers. We have no additional resource to manage or supervise
the schemes ourselves.”

Applications can be from anywhere in the UK. The Bike Hub committee will then sift through them and funding is expected to start in September. Bidders can apply at bikeforall.net.

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