The Newcastle Cycle Hub, home to a Cycle Centre store and holiday company Saddle Skedaddle, has secured a £25,000 loan from the Big Issue Invest to assist in efforts to grow cycling levels in the city.
Co-founded in 2012, the groups saw the need for a 'hub' on the River Tyne in Quayside where Newcastle’s growing cycling community could meet after a ride. Since it was established, The Cycle Hub has created new six jobs and has already provided advice and support to many local people about the health benefits of cycling.
“In many ways, being a social enterprise is just like being any type of business,” says Emma Hallington, marketing manager for The Cycle Hub and Saddle Skedaddle. “But it can be difficult for traditional lenders to see that our aims go beyond just profit, and so they are sometimes wary to lend to us.”
As the Cycle Hub found funding for social businesses can be hard to get, as many commercial lenders have no experience of lending to organisations that are not all about making a profit.
The Big Issue Invest's loan will now go towards growing cycling levels locally. Rod Jones, regional director for the North East and Cumbria at Big Issue Invest said of the grant:
“As a lender we exist to help worthwhile social businesses get the access to funding that they need to grow and develop their businesses so that they can help more people.
“We have enjoyed working with The Cycle Hub and their ambitions to get more people out cycling is one we can all support.”