The day itself is all about creating safe, empowering and inclusive environments for LGBTQI+ young people. This is especially important in the workplace, particularly where people may have had negative experiences, or not feel they were able to be themselves for fear of judgment or discrimination.
The events, which also marked the commencement of work on Good Cycles’ Diversity & Inclusion Strategy, were attended by approximately 60 staff and a great time was had by all.
Right from the get-go, Darren showed a high level of resourcefulness, determination and negotiation; his enthusiasm when performing his various tasks and a natural aptitude for problem solving became a source of motivation for others, “People talk to me and they tell me “How do you solve those problems so quickly?”… Being able to think both inside and outside the box [is key].”
Through his experience at Good Cycles, Darren was able to improve and strengthen his communication and teamwork skills. Darren noted that he “used to avoid teamwork but now I’m comfortable during shifts… Communication and keeping in contact with people so they know what is going on is a big thing.”
Another big thing for Darren was the chance to be given opportunities to build personal and professional connections particularly at Citywide. In fact, one of his professional goals was to move to Citywide into a permanent position there. Darren noted that, when he was able to work at the Citywide-operated Degraves Street Recycling facility during his time at Good Cycles, he was able to make both personal and professional connections:
After making use of the skills, networks and experience he gained in working shifts at the Facility, he successfully achieved his goal and moved into a permanent position at Citywide in December 2021.
Quality time with his children and family is particularly important for Darren: Darren was able to “spend more time with my kids and family” through the flexible shift structures at Good Cycles. More significantly, being employed meant being able to afford more secure housing and provide financially for his young family. Through the job security that came with working at Good Cycles, Darren was able to make huge progress in achieving his twin life goals of “a good home for my family” and “kids growing up healthy and happy”.
There are a lot of great initiatives going on. Just as well – it has been pretty tough going lately. Everything Good Cycles does to make mental health a reality for all is actively supported by you, our members. We do not provide a ‘mental health service’. There are other important and accessible initiatives to make a real difference to mental health and well-being, like:
Cycling is so effective for well-being that riding is one of the ‘alternative prescriptions’ doctors around the world recommend for mental health. If you want to know more about just how much you are helping yourself by cycling, read more from our friends at Bicycling Australia.
Obviously, it’s a lot easier to benefit from cycling if you have access to a bike. That’s one of the reasons Good Cycles has donated 60 bikes in the last 12 months to help people participate in the social and economic life of our communities. It might include exercise, visiting friends, or getting to work. It doesn’t matter whether you ride for the mental health benefits; they happen anyway.
It takes a bit of coordination and planning to create jobs, and as supporters of Good Cycles, it’s one of the things our members enable. The research evidence is ‘strongly supportive of a causal relationship’ between unemployment and mental ill-health. Our jobs are specifically targeted for those who are under-represented in the workforce so it is also one of the initiatives that improves mental health equity. Thanks again, members.
This is Nathan. He’s been a trainee with Good Cycles for two months now, so no doubt you’ve seen him around. Maybe in the workshop, probably at the Hub or maybe out on the Melbourne streets racking up the ks on his bike.
It goes without saying that evaluating and reporting on social impact is both incredibly important and extremely time-consuming for social enterprises. That’s why we’re excited to be working with Swinburne University, through the Social Enterprise Impact Lab (SEIL), to help make the process simpler and clearer for everyone involved.