BOOKBIKE LONDON is an innovative community project which uses cyclists to deliver books free of charge to elderly residential homes, hostels, hospital wards and local organisations in East London.
It aims to share books with people who are unable to access libraries or reading matter in other ways. It was launched one year ago at the Barking Learning Centre, in the presence of Zoinul Abidin, Head of Universal Services.
The project – which operates in Barking & Dagenham, Tower Hamlets, Newham, Redbridge and Hackney – was founded by Emdad Rahman, team captain at the social enterprise project.
As the pandemic continues, the project has been very popular – and Bookbike London has now reached the 1,000 book milestone. Emdad Rahman has also responded to changing needs in the community, and he has now adapted the book delivery system to include delivery of food parcels – and even medicine and clothes – to vulnerable neighbours and families.
Emdad Rahman commented, “This was meant to be a small hobby, a local cycle project to link my passion for community work with my physical wellbeing activities. Things have picked up nicely, with 1,000 books shared. During the pandemic we have adapted operations to include Foodbank runs too, among other things.”
Over the recent school half term holiday, the Barking Learning Centre supported Bookbike London with a pioneering project to provide local children with books. During the course of the week, Emdad shared 198 books with families.
Emdad continued, “It was the idea of Zoinul Abidin, Head of Universal Services at Barking & Dagenham Council. He has been the catalyst for this recent sharing streak. It’s enabled me to reach the 1,000 book milestone, and as I’ve been on annual leave I’ve been able to share almost 200 books.
“Thanks to Zoinul and the BLC for such fabulous support. It is an inspirational project which echoes Marcus Rashford and the school meals campaign. I’m fortunate and grateful to have such support and I’m sure local, national and global libraries will be inspired to follow the lead of the Barking Learning Centre and engage in this manner with communities suffering deprivation.”
Zoinul Abidin heads up the Barking Learning Centre. He added, “We are very glad to help such a simple but effective movement. Bookbike London shares our vision of promoting a passion for reading. It makes us specially happy that so many local children have benefitted from this partnership.”
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