A cycle shop in York which provided free bikes and no charge for repairs to NHS workers during the pandemic is in the running to be named Britain’s Best Small Shop of 2020.

Recycle York has been shortlisted in the competition, which is run by the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC), whose member trade associations represent about 100,000 independent UK retailers.

The awards celebrate the commitment and creativity of independent retailers and the central role they play in their local communities, with the winner due to be announced next month.

Recycle York has also been shortlisted for a special award to be given to the independent retailer that has demonstrated specific innovation to combat the impact of Covid-19. This award is sponsored by booost, the loyalty, gifting and promotions app.

The shop, which is open seven days a week, buys, sells and repairs bicycles as well as fixes them for a fraction of the cost of a new one.

It can often complete repairs immediately thanks to its huge stock of second hand parts and also custom builds and sells new bikes, sourced from five different suppliers.

The shop is also involved with waste reduction; it collects from waste sites and homes across North Yorkshire, recycles more than 5,000 bikes annually and donates many to local causes. Recycle York also works closely with many primary schools and the university, offering anything from information on cycle repairs and safety, to affordable bike sales.

As Recycle York was considered a key service, it was allowed to stay open and set up a delivery and collection service, after putting in place all necessary procedures.

It also moved its repair centre from the front of the shop to a different area with a separate, side entrance, so anyone bringing a bike for repair did not have to enter the premises.

The shop offered to repair bikes for NHS workers for free and gave out 162 bikes to those health workers who vitally needed transport to get to work.

Mark Walmsley, Chair of the IRC, said: “This has been a particularly challenging year for small, independent retailers and many have come through to this point through innovation, quality of product and service, a commitment to serve their local communities and a large dose of determination.

“As more and more people have been forced to stay home and work from home, we have seen just how much we all value local independent shops and want to see them not just survive, but also thrive.

"Shops offer choice, diversity and genuine customer service. And, after what has been a rather dark year, that has to be worth celebrating.”

The annual competition highlights the best of Britain's independent retail sector, celebrating the commitment and creativity of independent retailers and the central role they play in their local communities.