Access Sport is proud to launch a bike loan scheme, in partnership with Bikeworks and Tower Hamlets Borough Council, to enable female NHS staff at the Royal London Hospital (RLH) in Whitechapel to travel safely to work during the Coronavirus pandemic.




Prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, Access Sport was already delivering its Women on Wheels (WOW) cycling project to female healthcare professionals at the RLH, with funding from the London Cycle Grants. Over 60 RLH participants have now been equipped with key cycling skills through the WOW programme which teaches women to ride in a safe and friendly environment, removing the barriers many women face to cycling, such as lack of bikes and lack of confidence.

As the social distancing restrictions came into force, Access Sport joined forces with Bikeworks instructors to ensure that frontline female NHS Staff were still able to access bikes and coaching in order to travel to work safely.

Initially targeting the more confident participants on the current WOW project, the new initiative offers bicycles and helmets as well as 1:1 route planning to support those looking to cycle to work, facilitating a safe and healthy commute during what is recognised as an extremely challenging time for NHS staff. Tower Hamlets Borough Council is providing D-locks for the bikes.

Aiman, a junior doctor in general medicine, currently uses a bike loaned to her via the scheme to cycle from Pontoon Dock to the hospital (approximately 5 miles), after her own bike was stolen whilst she was on a day shift.

She says:

The scheme has made in invaluable contribution to my wellbeing in this challenging time. The bike I borrowed is well serviced and reliable, comes with a good quality D-lock. It has enabled me to cycle to work safely and stress free. It enables me to do essential food shopping. It has taken out a lot of worries and stress in my daily life and allow me to focus on my patients at work. In addition, being part of such a generous scheme, it has also improved my mental wellbeing. It has taken away the immediate pressure to get a new bike in the hectic work schedule. Thank you very very much. The bike was God-send



Dave Moreno, Bikeworks Instructor, said:

It’s great working with Access Sport and having their support on this scheme. I am proud to be helping those on the frontline source safer traveling options during this quarantine.

Mark Hardie, CEO of Access Sport said: 

Access Sport is proud to support frontline workers at the Royal London hospital at this important time, in partnership with Bikeworks. We are fully supportive of measures that help promote social distancing and an active lifestyle

Hear the Bike Loans Scheme featured on Virgin Radio with DJ Sam Pinkham...





Following its successful introduction earlier this month, the scheme has now launched in Goodmayes Hospital in Illford where the bikes will be used by staff from the psychiatric unit for wellbeing breaks and as transport across the large hospital site. There are now plans to open up the bike loan scheme to other interested NHS hospitals, including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Greenwich.

 

 

Access Sport’s Volunteer of the Year Nominee provides key support to Charlton community

Meanwhile in Charlton, South East London, one of Access Sport’s Team 100 volunteers and keen cyclist Joy Jenkins has been providing support to the local community since the start of the Coronavirus outbreak. Joy, who has also been nominated for Access Sport’s Volunteer of the Year Award 2020 for her involvement with the local Women on Wheels (WOW) cycling course, has taken on a key role delivering groceries to those in need, checking in on fellow residents and parents as well as setting up a ‘virtual buddy’ scheme.

Joy has been a part of Access Sport’s WOW cycling programme for over three years, equipping women with the skills and confidence to ride a bike. She is now qualified to lead the WOW cycling sessions and is also an active member of Team 100.

Joy is the winner of Access Sport’s Volunteer of the Year Award 2020 and you can watch her video here.

 



The Lockdown Bike Club

Access Sport is calling on members of its Making Trax Club Network to “re-imagine” inclusive community bike clubs for the lockdown era.

One of our network clubs leading the way is a community cycling club known as COG (Community Outdoor Group) based in Higham Hill in Waltham Forest, one of the most deprived wards of the country. Part of COG’s mission is to increase bike ownership for disadvantaged local people, including by repairing donated bikes or providing weekly BMX sessions where bikes are supplied at low-cost. During the lockdown, COG has continued lending out unused bikes to its club members, ensuring that those from disadvantaged backgrounds are still able to enjoy cycling as part of their daily exercise.

There are over 40 inclusive community cycling clubs within Access Sport’s Making Trax Club Network. Access Sport is now actively supporting these clubs to set up similar schemes, to ensure that cycling remains accessible to those from disadvantaged communities during the lockdown.

The Lockdown Bike Club is a collaborative project that’s helping community bike clubs navigate the Coronavirus crisis and continue their support for the young people and families who depend on them. We hope to see the positive example set by COG inspire other clubs within the Network. – Andy James, Network Manager, Access Sport

 

You can view all of Access Sport's inclusive community sports club on a map here