The History of Common Wheel

Back in 1997 the basic concept of bicycle recycling as occupational therapy was developed by Colin Guthrie (GP), Alistair Wilson (Consultant Psychiatrist) and Neil McDonald (cycle enthusiast).

In 1999, with the support of Glasgow City Council, we secured our first bike workshop in Maryhill.

On 14 June 2001 we were granted charitable status and registered as a limited company.

We opened our second workshop in Bridgeton in 2006.

The music arm of our project was set up by Julie De Simone and Alistair Wilson in 2004. The idea for the project was drawn from Julie’s experiences in mental health care and as a music teacher: the idea being that music could be used to reach people, enable self-expression, and combat the boredom and isolation experienced by many in psychiatric care. Julie fundraised for the project herself, beginning by growing and selling pot plants to buy the first set of instruments. By securing larger grants Julie helped the project to develop. It now reaches over 100 people with mental illness and dementia each month.

In 2016 our steering group proposed that it would be good to have a third activity. After a successful pilot, we rolled out our visual arts project, Carnival Club, in 2017.

So far we have exhibited our creations at the Glasgow Style Mile Carnival and the Merchant City Festival. The project has received good feedback from the clients and also from the spectators.

On 31 March 2015 we converted from a limited company to a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

In 2018 one of our trustees, Judith Foster, suggested adding indoor climbing as a fourth activity. There is evidence that physical activity is beneficial for mental health as well as physical health, and that climbing is particularly effective.

After extensive consultations our indoor climbing course was piloted in 2019.