New Hope Outreach Plus workers David Abrahams and Joe Hodgins using Beryl services.

Beryl support vital outreach charity

The UK’s leading micromobility company, Beryl, has teamed up with a Watford homeless outreach charity to help them access and help more people in less time.

By providing New Hope with free minutes to use on the area’s bikes and e-bikes, they have enabled the charity's Outreach Plus team to quickly respond to the needs of vulnerable people sleeping rough in and around Watford.

Using two-wheeled transport not only helps the charity save money and access people in sometimes difficult to reach areas, it also contributes towards cutting road congestion and improving air quality. 

The initiative coincides with Beryl’s recertification as a B-Corporation registered company for another three years. To become certified, companies must demonstrate exceptional standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.

New Hope Outreach Plus Manager, Steve Devine, said: “The bikes enable us to respond to StreetLink reports and phone calls so much quicker than before and we have utilised them to go straight to a rough sleeper, meet with them and then bring them back to an outreach bed. 

“They really have been fundamental to our outreach service, allowing us to travel twice the distance in half the time. 

“Covering more ground has been very useful and positive especially during our monthly counts, reaching new distances and areas that were once hard to reach.”

Beryl CEO and co-founder, Phil Ellis, said: “Supporting charities like New Hope to deliver their work for those who are homeless is a very easy decision. We really believe in the power of the bike to improve the health and sustainability of our towns and cities.

“We take our B-Corp certification extremely seriously and always look for opportunities to integrate within the social fabric of the areas where we operate.” 

Launched on Monday 2 March 2020, the Watford Beryl scheme has amassed 230,382 journeys, equating to a total distance of 720,020 km, the equivalent of nearly 18 journeys around the Earth. 

Feedback from users shows that almost a quarter (22.98%) of bike and e-bike journeys in Watford have replaced road transport journeys - including driving a car/van, being a passenger in a car/van, using a taxi or riding a motorbike or moped. 

This shift in transportation modes equates to a saving of almost 25 tonnes of carbon dioxide; the equivalent of around 1,650,457 boiled kettles or more than 144 flights from London to Edinburgh.*

A key component in Watford Borough Council’s pledge to become a carbon neutral town with more sustainable travel options, the scheme currently comprises 200 pedal bikes and 100 pedal-assisted e-bikes. 

The bikes can be picked up from or dropped off at 72 clearly marked ‘Beryl Bays’, which were located and installed in partnership with Watford Borough Council and key stakeholders. This means that, currently, 83,300 people are a 5 minutes-walk from a bay, representing 86% of the service area's population.

For people who are homeless in Watford, rough sleeping, staying on a friend’s sofa, about to face eviction with nowhere else to go, New Hope has been providing accommodation and support for over 30 years.

For people already at high risk of immediate harm – those currently sleeping outdoors, sometimes in plain sight and sometimes hidden away from the public eye – New Hope’s Outreach Plus team go out daily to connect with people wherever they may be sleeping and establish their needs. 

As well as providing humanitarian aid such as food, clothes and rapid access to crisis accommodation, the Outreach Plus team maintain regular contact with people not yet ready to engage with homelessness support services to build trusting relationships that may lead to them accessing longer term support in the future.

*Carbon saving calculations are approximate and are based on industry research 

Notes to editors

  • Picture caption: New Hope Outreach Plus workers David Abrahams and Joe Hodgins using Beryl services 
  • Beryl is the UK's leading micromobility company, championing sustainable travel options to help reduce road congestion and improve air quality and public health. 
  • We have delivered affordable bike, cargo bike and scooter schemes in locations around the country; including Norwich, Watford, Hereford, Bournemouth, the Isle of Wight, Hackney and, most recently, Greater Manchester.
  • A B-Corp certified operator, we deliver schemes in partnership with cities and communities, placing people, social responsibility and environmental sustainability at the same level as financial sustainability.
  • We also provide technology for micromobility schemes in London and Birmingham and manufacture innovative technological solutions, such as the Laserlight.