JOBSEEKERS across Greater Manchester are being helped back into work by a new scheme that provides them with free recycled bikes.

The Bike Back to Work scheme, a Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) initiative which works in partnership with Jobcentre Plus and Work Programmes Providers, gives jobseekers who have recently found work the opportunity to apply for a recycled bike that they can use to travel to their new job.

The aim of the scheme is to assist people during early stages of employment when travel can add a significant expense.

In addition to the financial benefits, cycling is a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and offers an alternative way to travel, especially for shift workers where public transport may not be available.

The recycled bikes also come with cycling accessories and safety equipment such as lights and helmets. Free cycle and maintenance training is also provided by TfGM.

Jobseekers who have found employment and are signing off benefits can apply for a recycled bike, with all applications being made through Jobcentre Plus and Work Programme Providers advisors.

The Bike Back to Work initiative is funded through the Local Sustainable Transport Fund and is part of TfGM’s wider Travel Choices programme, which promotes the use of sustainable transport across Greater Manchester.

The recycled bikes are provided by several bike recycling organisations across Greater Manchester who provide training on how to restore bikes. This reduces the number of bikes being thrown into landfill sites.

Dr Jon Lamonte, chief executive of TfGM, said: “This initiative is about helping jobseekers across Greater Manchester, and by providing access to recycled bikes, as well as training, we hope that this scheme will go some way to helping people back into work.

“With low running costs, as well as the associated health benefits, cycling is a fantastic way for people to get around Greater Manchester, and helping people to get to work by bike will benefit the local economy as well as the environment.”

Ian Houghton, manager of the Message Trust’s Bespoke Cycle Recycling centre, said: “The assistance received from TFGM has helped us to establish Bespoke as a new business employing young people with problem pasts.”

Oliver Nuttall, a Work Coach at Didsbury Jobcentre, added: “This is a brilliant way to manage any travel costs associated with getting back to work, as well as offering real health benefits.”