London non-profit charity, XO Bikes, has opened its first Wandsworth pop-up workshop and store at Southside Shopping Centre.
The pop-up is located next to Gravity and will be open until the end of September.
Owned by charitable organisation Onwards and Upwards, which was set up by Stefan Jones in 2022 to change ex-convicts’ lives, XO Bikes is the first business which aims to break the cycle of re-offending and create jobs for people who have been in the prison system.
The new bike shop will feature a workshop which is designed to train prison leavers to fix bikes and provide them with skills for future careers.
All the bikes at the store are lost or stolen and have been donated by the public or via the Metropolitan Police – who’s chosen charity for unclaimed bikes is XO Bikes.
The team of apprentice bike mechanics will refurbish each bike according to the Velotech Platinum Standard, with every bike stripped and cleaned, and all parts tested and replaced or refurbished.
Once renewed, each bike is given a visible orange code that links the bike back to its original mender – and a pair of handcuffs that work as a bike lock. The bikes are then sold to the public at the store, with all the money from the sales being put back into the initiative.
Pieter Strömbeck, centre director at Southside Shopping Centre, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome XO Bikes to Southside this summer. We recognise the difficulty ex-offenders face when it comes to reintegrating into society and are proud to be able to support a programme, which not only refurbishes bikes but repairs people’s lives after being convicted.
“We hope our visitors rally behind XO Bikes and their team by popping into their store and discover more about what the charity is all about.”
Stef Jones, founder of XO Bikes, added: “Following the success of our first store at Lewisham Shopping Centre, we’re delighted to open a summer pop-up at Southside Shopping Centre.
“Being able to provide the opportunity to rebuild lives in such a supportive environment is really rewarding, and we’re thrilled to be able to expand our base with a workshop in Wandsworth.”