A concerned resident has said he has been told to not help Hop On find a new location to store their bikes to deliver vital cycling sessions in Lister Park to the community in Manningham.
Today, Hop On, a community social enterprise, has been evicted from the cycling container they were using to store around 80 bikes for over five years.
Hop On, co-founded by Fozia Naseem, Shahida Kishver, and Najma Khan in 2016, deliver weekly cycling sessions to predominantly South Asian women and young people from Manningham, serving over 600 people a month.
The storage container they were using is owned by the University of Bradford’s Student Union (SU). After funding for the Union’s cycling project, Cycling 4 All, ran out, the management of the container was handed over to Bradford Disability Sport and Leisure (BDSL) who loaned it to Hop On.
Now BDSL wants the container to store their bikes in, despite already owning a container in Lister Park.
Lister Park has three storage containers, one owned by Bradford Council’s Youth Service, one that is owned by the University of Bradford SU, and the other by BDSL. Currently, there is also a temporary storage container in the park.
The Council has been informed about the issue, and they agreed to come up with a “creative solution” to work the situation out. The Council offered Hop On storage in Horton Park in BD7, but this is not an option for the social enterprise, as they deliver the sessions to the community in and around Lister Park, not Great Horton.
Due to Lister Park being a Grade II listed park, the Council has said that they are unable to place another storage container in the park and that the pavilion is also not suitable for storage as it is sometimes used as a meeting space.
Ms Kishver contacted a resident for help in finding a suitable location near the park to store the bikes temporarily. He disclosed to Asian Standard that he was happy to help but then started receiving calls from withheld numbers, telling him not to get involved as is a “political” issue.
The concerned resident said: “I was approached by Shahida about a week and a half ago about the storage container, as I live locally. I contacted a few businesses that I know to see if they could help.
“I then received a couple of phone calls from anonymous people saying, ‘you are not a political person, do not get involved, it’s no good for you’.
“People who know me have told me not to get involved but if you can help somebody, then you should, and I want to help them.
“In the Asian community, it is like dealing with a brick wall, it is like an old boys’ network. At the end of the day, it doesn’t take rocket science to know what is right and what is wrong.”
One business owner that Hop On contacted directly agreed to store the bikes, temporarily, until they can find an alternative solution. However, have now told them that they cannot store the bikes there until a contract has been signed, which has left the community cycling club without a home.
It took three vans, two borrowed from family businesses and one from Bradford Youth Service, to transport the bikes.
The bikes will now be stored in various locations across Bradford, including a wedding venue owned by a family member in BD7 until they can find storage more locally.
To continue delivering the cycling sessions in Lister Park, one possibility for Hop-On is to buy a small trailer that costs around £3400 which would allow them to transport around 20 bikes from BD7 to the park.
Asian Standard approached a representative from BDSL who oversaw the eviction at Lister Park for a comment. She said: “We’re here to store our bikes. That’s it.”