I’m now officially managing the bike shop, known as “Fair Bike”. I’m debating whether to lobby for a change to “Fair Cycle” or if that would be a pun too far. Besides, I think I may be a bit too busy.

The workshop gets a steady supply of bikes from the public or the local authority waste department; better bikes are refurbished in the shop, while the really broken bikes are cannibalised for parts then sold as scrap. In our case most of the staff are people who have been unemployed for a while, and who are trying to gain skills and confidence so they can get a job.

My department is in a fairly large second hand shop offering various opportunities to about forty people. The shop is partly financed by the Job Centre but it has to raise a lot of the funds itself through sales, so each department has to run like a small business.

Unfortunately, the person previously in charge of the bike department has been ill for a while, and as is often the case this meant people just did their thing and no-one had any overview of the department. The next few weeks will be simply getting to know my clients, building trust, sorting out the stores and trying to find the floor.

I made a start yesterday; after a couple of hours I’d thrown away a lot of broken bike parts, one mirror, two broken radio control cars; and a model dinosaur missing one leg. This meant I found the windowsill, so I could clean the windows…

Small steps…