A social enterprise will be opening up a new shop in Devonport, thanks to support from the Council’s Social Enterprise Investment Fund.
Bikespace has opened its first shop and will sell electric bikes – or ebikes – as well as refurbished bicycles from its cycle recycling project already based in Devonport.
An empty shop in George Street has been brought back to life in partnership with the Devonport Community Land Trust and Devonport Community Leisure also houses a community space and café.
The store is the first stage of the social enterprise’s expansion, which received a boost from the Council’s Social Enterprise Investment Fund, worth £100,000 through a mixture of business support, capital and a loan.
Spokesman Gareth Thomas said: “We are delighted to have been awarded funding from SEIF. it will give us the chance to provide more jobs and training for people from challenging backgrounds and we are excited to be getting stuck into the new projects.”
Plymouth City Council is believed to be the first in the country to have a Social Enterprise investment fund and Bikespace was one of six social enterprises to receive a share of £300,000.
The organisation employs those who have had a rough start in life, teaching them how to fix and recondition bikes.
The Social Enterprise Investment Fund comes from the Council’s ‘Building for Jobs’ Investment Fund – one of the Council’s 19 ‘Plan for Jobs’ projects aimed at unlocking stalled developments, creating new jobs and levering additional public and private sector finance.
Councillor Chris Penberthy, Cabinet Member for Cooperatives, Housing and Community Safety opened the store. He said: “Bikespace is doing a superb job of helping people who may not have had the best start in life to receive training and confidence. It is also supporting Plymouth’s priorities around health, wellbeing, recycling and green transport..
“This is how a social enterprise city works – we are supporting businesses that trade and use their profits to do so much for others. It’s great to see Bikespace using their investment from our Social Enterprise Investment Fund so quickly.”