COMAC bicycle workshop is a unique initiative in Sheffield, set up and staffed by volunteer mechanics to support asylum seekers in the city. COMAC houses a fleet of cycles in various states donated by the public, and opens twice a month for people who have been referred from local charity ASSIST to fix up a bike alongside the mechanics. A lock, lights and high -vis are also provided, giving people the independent means to travel between appointments as they begin to navigate their new home.
The facilities are also open for people to come along and maintain their current bikes, continuing COMAC’s mission of engagement and developing skills among new and vulnerable arrivals. On the day I visited, young men from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iran and Myanmar were busily working on their bikes, sharing stories and socialising before pedalling away with a small taste of freedom.