Residents asked to donate their spare bikes to NHS and social care heroes
Unused bikes are being tuned-up and handed out free of charge to NHS and social care staff living and working in Cherwell. The Bikes for Key Workers scheme aims to help Oxfordshire hospital and care staff off public transport and onto bicycles for their daily commute during the COVID-19 pandemic. Set up by Active Oxfordshire, the initiative has already proved popular in Oxford and is now being rolled out across Cherwell through the Dr Bike programme.
Cllr Andrew McHugh, Cherwell’s lead member for health and wellbeing said: “Our NHS and social care workers have selflessly put themselves in harm’s way during this pandemic and the fight against this virus is by no means over. With people being asked to avoid public transport where possible, it is essential we enable these heroes to continue to do their vital work. Bikes for Key Workers offers care staff a free alternative to buses and trains whilst giving them the opportunity to build some physical activity into their busy days.”
The programme works by asking residents and businesses to donate their unused bicycles to the scheme. Cherwell District Council then arranges and pays for any repairs needed through the Dr Bike programme, whilst a qualified mechanic ensures they are roadworthy. The bikes are then handed onto Active Oxfordshire to partner up with a suitable new owner.
Paul Brivio, Chief Executive Officer at Active Oxfordshire, said: “As well as providing critically needed transport to help key workers continue their vital work, this project will also help people to stay active and benefit from quieter streets and less traffic. This project shows how Oxfordshire’s sports and cycling community is stepping up to play its part in the COVID-19 response, and we’re very proud to be involved.”
Cherwell has already provided seven bikes to the programme but several more are needed.
Cllr McHugh continued: “I would encourage anyone with an unused bike to offer it up to the scheme. It’s a wonderful way of saying thank you to those who have protected us during this time.”
To offer a bicycle to the scheme, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Care staff requesting a free bicycle are being asked to email email@example.com
The launch of this programme coincides with Bike Week UK (6-14 June 2020), an annual celebration to showcase cycling.