An initiative supported by Active Lancashire, Love to ride, Connecting East Lancashire and Lancashire County Council, has seen the first 12 bikes donated to NHS workers from Blackburn and Burnley Hospital Trusts, with many more to come.
The programme, inspired by Active Lancashire's Cycle Recycle Scheme, which is part-funded by the ESF More Positive Together project, was developed following a number of refurbished bikes becoming available to distribute. The Bike Works & Cycles Recycled, two of the delivery partners on the Cycle Recycle Scheme, have refurbished the bikes ready to distribute to key NHS front line workers during Covid-19.
Following conversations between The East Lancashire Hospital Trust and Love to Ride, the idea came to gift these bikes to NHS keyworkers who are currently working hard to save lives, providing them with a much safer mode of transport to and from work, as opposed to reduced public transport networks.
The bikes have gone through the Cycle Recycle Scheme which sees bikes from Lancashire waste sites and donations from Lancashire Police, collected by The Bike Works and Cycles Recycled, where the bikes are then assessed and undergo safety checks to determine the level of suitability and repair work to a roadworthy condition. All bikes are repaired, cleaned, separated and sanitised in accordance with government guidelines and packed ready for delivery, though some of the bikes given to workers on this particular initiative were also brand new.
The Hospital Trusts’ Communications team sent out information regarding the bike offer to their staff to explore the level of interest and once interest is expressed their details are sent across to Active Lancashire, who then coordinate safe delivery of the bikes along with their partners. Delivery of the bike is a collaborative effort between The Bike Works, Cycles Recycled and Cycle Roots and a different method is arranged based upon individual circumstances.
Thus far, an initial 12 bikes have been successfully delivered to NHS workers, with a further 68 available ready to go to other NHS workers. More bikes are potentially available if the demand from the staff members is there and promoted by the trusts. The innovative scheme not only provides a safe means of transport for our frontline workers, but cycling carries a number of other benefits such as helping to prevent the decline of your immune system in the short and long term, boosting your mental health and reducing stress and anxiety – benefits that could all have a significant impact on the lives of NHS workers and indeed their patients during this extremely difficult time.
In addition to receiving the bike, the NHS staff members also have the opportunity to access a wider health and wellbeing support network developed by Active Lancashire, Love to ride, Connecting East Lancashire and Lancashire County Council. Each worker is also given a safety pack including a Helmet, Bike lock, high vis and lights meaning the bikes can be used 24/7.
Joseph, one of the first NHS workers to receive a free bike in Burnley, expressed his gratitude saying “Thanks for the bike and safety equipment, I use the bike to get to work everyday and enjoy keeping fit, I have made great use of the offer."
The scheme appears to have been very well received by NHS workers, and talks have begun with managers across Blackpool, West Lancashire and Morecambe to extend the reach of the project further over the coming weeks. It is also clear to see that joining forces with other like-minded organisations during this time, could have an extremely positive impact on communities and make a real difference.
If you work for the NHS and are interested in gaining access to a free bike*, please get in touch with the communications team within your trust.
- ELHT - [email protected]
- Blackpool - [email protected]
- Ormskirk - [email protected]
- Morecambe Bay- [email protected]
*Bikes subject to availability. All the bikes have now been provisionally allocated and we are looking to secure further funding to access more bikes. Details will be released if we do source further bikes.