Blue Bristol Workshop

National Grid helps former prisoners into work

Education bursaries fund cycle mechanic qualifications

National Grid has awarded £10,000 to the cycling charity, Life Cycle UK, to provide bursaries to help inmates in HMP Bristol complete their cycle mechanic qualifications and secure work following their release. Separate bursaries will be provided to excluded and low income individuals in the community to help them through their cycle mechanic qualifications.

Thousands of people across the south west turned to cycling over the pandemic resulting in high demand for bike mechanics. This presented an opportunity to support the rehabilitation of prisoners and those from marginalised communities by finding and securing roles in the cycling industry.

National Grid’s grant provided to Life Cycle UK will mean ex-prisoners and low income individuals can afford the cost of the £1,250 City & Guilds Level 2 cycle mechanic course.

After completing their qualification learners will be referred to employers to maximise their chance of moving on to a job. Learners start the course with basic cycle maintenance skills and over 8 days they learn the required theory and practical knowledge to fully re-build a bike from scratch.

National Grid, and our contractors, are always on the lookout for opportunities to give back to communities impacted by the Hinkley Connection Project. The £10,000 grant, provided through the Community Grant Fund, will present an opportunity for ex-prisoners to regain their lives and turn their back on crime.

Mo, one of those supported by the funding, recently attended one of the workshops and successfully achieved his Level 2 Cycle Mechanic qualification. He commented on the benefits the experience brought to him:

“Being here brought me out of my shell and got me communicating better with my peers. I feel better in myself and I’m now more open to meeting new people. I feel good and am delighted and pleased that I stuck with the course.”

Previous grants from National Grid have empowered local communities in similar ways. A charity dedicated to protecting the mental health of young people in the Cheddar Valley Area received £10,000 to support the reopening of the local youth club, providing a safe and secure place for local children to develop. Meanwhile, young people in Portishead, at risk of exclusion or with special needs, were supported with the provision of a dedicated mentor to support their independence and resilience through funding provided by the Community Grant Fund.

Since the beginning of Hinkley Connection construction over £1 million has been awarded by National Grid to local community groups and charities.

Huda Wajih, Development Lead at Life Cycle UK said:

“The post-COVID cycling boom is unprecedented. Employers in the cycle industry are looking for trained bike mechanics – and are breaking down historic barriers to welcome candidates from any background.

“Life Cycle UK has recently secured a grant from National Grid, which provides bursaries for City & Guilds accredited Cycle Mechanic training plus work placements to help ex-offenders and those most excluded from the workplace to gain the skills to access jobs in Bristol’s booming cycle industry.

“Thanks to their support, we can now take advantage of a once in a generation opportunity to integrate marginalised communities into a booming sector. ”

James Goode, Project Director of the Hinkley Connection Project commented:

“National Grid’s £10,000 grant to Life Cycle UK will help vulnerable people like Mo learn, grow and take control of their lives.”

“We are delighted to have helped so many communities during our mission to supply low carbon energy to millions of homes across the South West. We want local people to have the best possible outcomes in life and leave a positive impact in the communities impacted by construction.”