STORY: Cycle Penistone CIC

16 October 2018

Cycle Penistone CIC is a community bike facility and shop that promotes an inclusive approach to cycling. They applied for a Reach Fund and managed to secure investment to help them better cater to growing demand for their products and services.

Social Impact

Cycle Penistone CIC knew they had something special on their hands with the natural beauty of the Trans Pennine Trail, an exciting route for cyclists that passes through the Pennines, along rivers and through some of the most historic towns across the north of England.

The organisation, having been closed, was reborn in March 2015 to cater for the growing interest in bike hire, sales and repairs. As well as meeting demand from tourists and locals, Cycle Penistone’s social impact lay in its provision of inclusive activities.

From its recycling scheme - repurposing old bikes and selling them at a reduced price - to its safety workshops for children, apprenticeships, cycling clubs and inclusion bikes in it’s hire fleet for people with physical disabilities, Cycle Penistone was looking to deliver even further impact by growing their service offering.

How we helped 

But obstacles threatened to put the brakes on that growth. Continuous reinvestment of trading income to purchase equipment, from spanners and paper to a van meant no surplus money could be used for salaries. Dependence on volunteers was stretched.

Cycle Penistone recognised the need for more intense and focused work to boost the trading income and make their cashflow more sustainable. To achieve this, they decided to become a more attractive proposition for social funders.

Cycle Penistone looked for help from the Reach Fund – a specialist grant programme dedicated to getting organisations ready for investment. This would allow Cycle Penistone to pay for expanding their inhouse team without the need for expensive consultants. Funding also enabled the provision of IT equipment – bringing the organisation’s operations into the 21st century and giving them the proof of business efficiency needed to attract social investment.

“More funds such as Reach would be extremely helpful to get social enterprises ready and able for the journey to become self-sustaining. We’re perfect examples of this as our reliance on grant funding has gone from 50% to 10%.”

Jill Bramall, Managing Director, Cycle Penistone CIC​

What was the outcome?

Thanks to Reach, Cycle Penistone were able to obtain a £10,000 top-up loan from Key Fund, one of the Reach’s Access Points. The combination of grant and loan was able to pay for extra staff, new various computer equipment and improvements in cashflow management.

Cycle Penistone is seeing growth of 40% per year in trading income generated and there are 10 new paid jobs for local people as a result. Their new IT systems have helped them grow their finances and social media presence.

They now plan to extend their workshop area to grow their bike repair facilities and are on the lookout for more investment partners to help them pedal into the future.