The Big Issue has teamed up with ShareBike to launch The Big Issue eBikes scheme in a bid to break the cycle of unemployment.
Big Issue-branded eBikes were modelled this week by Big Issue founder Lord John Bird in his home city of Cambridge as he launched the scheme to support previously unemployed people back into work.
With plans to launch a fleet across the UK in early 2021, The Big Issue will pay employees a living wage to manage the scheme in their local area. Access to services and support will also be offered to improve lives affected by the devastating economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
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The eBikes scheme also provides an ethical and sustainable way to boost the environmental credentials of towns and cities across the UK.
Lord Bird said: “By renting an eBike from The Big Issue not only are you doing good for the environment but you are doing good for others too. You are biking for good.”
Norwegian firm ShareBike has operated similar eBike schemes across Europe and Lord Bird is eager to team up with like-minded organisations to tackle the ongoing jobs crisis. He is calling on councils and local businesses from all over the UK to take up the scheme.
“We are living through some dark times, with predictions that hundreds of thousands of people could lose their jobs and be made homeless,” Lord Bird added. “It’s been wonderful to come together with a like-minded organisation with a truly innovative venture that offers hope to those facing great adversity due to Covid-related poverty.
“We are confident that The Big Issue eBikes scheme will recruit and retrain unemployed and vulnerable people in local communities and provide them with access to support and services to improve their lives.”
The Big Issue has been working with organisations, charities and campaigners to protect jobs, as well as preventing homelessness, through our Ride Out Recession Alliance (RORA) through the coronavirus crisis.
ShareBike’s bike-sharing approach is the latest step in our bid to preventing more people falling into poverty. The new scheme will form part of RORA’s activities to support and retrain people to find new employment pathways in green and ethical industries.
Jan Tore Endresen, chief executive of ShareBike, said: “In our partnership with The Big Issue, ShareBike sees a unique opportunity to help people whilest providing sustainable mobility.
“With more than 20 years’ experience in global bike sharing we have ensured that Big Issue eBikes offer a comfortable and convenient alternative to fossil fuel-based transportation, as well as providing an affordable mode of travelling around cities in the UK.”
The Big Issue is urging councils and businesses across the UK to sign up to the scheme at www.bigissue.bike while cyclists can register to find out when Big Issue eBikes will be available in their area.
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Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the Big Issue ShareBike scheme would start in Cambridge. Big Issue founder John Bird tested the bikes in Cambridge to mark the launch of the scheme, but they are not yet available in the town. We are happy to correct the record.