2023 Winner



Set up an innovative charity which refurbishes donated old bikes to help refugees get around and integrate into the community.

When Steven McCluskey, 60, met a young asylum-seeker called Yaman in 2016, it was a moment that changed both of their lives. Yaman had fled the conflict in Syria, arriving in Scotland with no possessions beyond the clothes on his back.

He asked Steven, who worked for a mental health charity at the time, how he would go about having a beaten-up old bike fixed. “It quickly became obvious what a difference having the bike made to his life. He was not allowed to work and could not claim benefits,” recalls Steven.

“The bike meant he could explore his new home but also a means of transport so he could meet with the Home Office and discuss his claim.”

Steven founded Bikes for Refugees in 2017 and his band of volunteers in Edinburgh and Glasgow have since refurbished and passed on more than 1,800 bikes to asylum-seekers across Scotland, who they call New Scots as a symbol of solidarity and welcome.

This simple act has a transformational power to connect these isolated new locals with communities, vital services and make friends. Some also train as bike mechanics to aid the service. Another joy of Bikes for Refugees, says Steven, has been introducing a number of women to cycling for the very first time.