Last Monday morning, Korina and Catrin from the Social Business Growth Fund (SBGF) team donned their bike helmets (and scarfs and gloves) and cycled from the WCVA office in Cardiff Bay to the Cycle Training Wales HQ in Gabalfa.
The purpose of the visit was to learn how their recent Social Business Growth Fund award will be put to use and see some of the great things the organisation is already doing.
The social enterprise aims to remove barriers that prevent people cycling. In their Cardiff Cycle Workshop, a group of dedicated volunteers and professional mechanics offer a range of services including cycle repairs, recycling and workshops on how to fix your own bike. The repair service, which initially started as a pilot, proved very popular but left the organisation stretched for space and mechanic hours.
In May this year, the organisation was successful in securing just under £8,000 from the Social Business Growth Fund to install a mezzanine floor in their workshop which will allow them the space
to offer more bicycle repairs to the public.
This small social investment will contribute to the social business’ sustainability and growth whilst allowing them to continue the great work they carry out in schools, communities and organisations across Wales.
Cycle Training Wales has received a number of traditional grants in the past but has preferred to dedicate the money to community impact projects aimed at harder to reach and vulnerable people rather than sustaining overhead costs.
Andrew Burns, Development Manager at Cycle Training Wales explained that he champions the social enterprise model because the over reliance on grant funding can distract from business development and income generation, which he believes is essential in running any sort of third sector organisation.
When Andrew applied to Social Business Growth Fund, he got the best of both worlds. The funding is comprised of part repayable assistance (60%) and part grant (40%).
One of the conditions of the funding is that you must create jobs. As Cycle Training Wales received £8,000 they are required to create and sustain half a job. Due to the anticipated demand of the new repair service, they aim to create full post. Now, here comes the clever bit – the more you overachieve in creating jobs as a result of the funding, the less that needs to be paid back. So in short, a proportion of Cycle Training Wales’ repayable assistance will be converted into grant.
Andrew said about the funding: “This SGBF investment will help our social enterprise to increase its social impact, help to diversify the organisation’s income streams, improve our sustainability and create additional employment. The team have been incredibly helpful at every step of the process and we are now looking forward to the fruition of this project.”