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South Western Railways fund bike mechanic course in Hounslow

Hounslow Council is preparing to roll out a programme designed to train locals as bicycle mechanics, thanks to a community grant from South Western Railways (SWR).

The Council has been awarded more than £23,000 from SWR’s Customer and Communities Improvement Fund (CCIF) to provide training sessions to enable residents to become certified bicycle mechanics.

The Customer and Communities Improvement Fund (CCIF) is a programme run by SWR to support community projects across their network.

Intended to support small and medium-sized projects which can be completed over the course of a year, CIFF has, to date, supported more than 100 projects with over £7m. 

Other initiatives enabled by the CCIF in the 23/24 round of contributions include enhancements to active travel at Wokingham Station and a cycling project in the New Forest aimed at people with disability or other barriers to outdoor physical exercise.

The Hounslow project will provide comprehensive training and hands-on experience for 12 local people, leading to a City and Guilds Level 2 qualification which will enable them to pursue careers in bicycle maintenance and repair.

Those completing the course will learn all the skills required to run the Dr Bike repair sessions which have been hugely popular at SWR stations. 

The Council is particularly keen to hear from women and young people to take advantage of this scheme because they are currently underrepresented in the bicycle maintenance industry and face the most barriers to finding employment.

Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate, Environment and Transport, Cllr Katherine Dunne, said: ‘“We are thrilled to receive this award from South Western Railways. This grant will enable us to create valuable training opportunities for our residents, promoting cycling as a viable and environmentally friendly mode of transport. Not only will this programme help people gain meaningful employment, but it will also contribute to our broader goals of reducing carbon emissions and supporting healthier lifestyles.’

It is the second year that Hounslow Council has successfully applied for funding from the SWR Communities and Customer Improvement Fund.

Peter Williams, South Western Railway Customer and Commercial Director said: ‘We’re very proud to support this year’s projects, which all share our vision of seeing local communities thrive. CCIF provides investment that makes a real difference to people in towns and villages across our network.

‘We were inspired by Hounslow Council’s mission and the passionate team behind the project. Not only does the scheme offer hands-on experience and future career opportunities, but it also helps promote long-term sustainable travel. We look forward to seeing the project grow and the positive impact that the completed project will have on the Hounslow community.’

Paul Day
Paul is the editor of Public Sector News.

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