Another 70 NHS key workers in and around Oxford will be getting about on two-wheels thanks to a £4,900 grant from the Oxford Health Charity.

When COVID-19 hit, grants made up from money raised by the public were allocated to NHS charities across the UK like Oxford Health Charity by national organisation NHS Charities Together – an umbrella charity for all NHS charities.

A recent bid by Active Oxfordshire for funds to provide more local NHS key workers with a sustainable and healthy way to commute has been approved, meaning more people can get round under their own steam.

The OHC grant gives another boost to the project which had already handed over 280 cycles to date.

Local organisations coming together to help cycling

Bikes for Key Workers was launched in April 2020 by Active Oxfordshire and is now run by Cyclox in partnership with a range of other organisations and an army of dedicated volunteer mechanics.

Donated bikes are given free of charge to NHS and social care keyworkers who can’t or prefer not to use public transport due to enhanced risk of infection. The cycles are donated by members of the public and are then checked over by volunteer mechanics, with final safety checks completed by qualified mechanics and bike shops.

Giving would-be cyclists a push

Julie Pink, Community Involvement Manager for Oxford Health Charity, said: ​​​​​​​“It is really rewarding to see money raised by members of the public helping to make great ideas like this one happen.

“Bids come into the charity from staff and groups involved in providing care through the Trust and we look at each one closely and do what we can to help. Clearly there is an even greater appetite for cycling since COVID-19 hit and the opportunity of a good quality and properly set up bike will enable more NHS workers to get pedalling.”

Josh Lenthall from Active Oxfordshire, said: “We’ve been delighted to see the impact that Bikes for Key Workers has had over the last six months, thanks to the incredible efforts of Cyclox and partners, the amazing volunteers and members of the public who have donated so generously.

“Oxfordshire is still facing unprecedented challenges as a result of COVID-19 and this generous grant from Oxford Health Charity will help another 70 key workers get to work safely and enjoy the significant benefits of active travel.”

John Upham, Oxford Health’s sustainability manager, said: “This is welcome addition to the promotion of active travel and will contribute to NHS long term ambitions for zero carbon and reducing air pollution.”

If you are able to donate a bike that is in good or reasonable condition or you could volunteer your time as a mechanic, please email cycloxbikedonation@gmail.com

Oxford Health Charity – one of around 240 similar NHS charities across the UK – supports people receiving care and working with Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust. It covers Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Swindon, Wiltshire, Bath and North East Somerset – the same geographical area as the trust.

Its aim is to enhance the experiences of patients, carers and staff by supporting projects, activities and training over and above what can be provided through the NHS.

The charity is there to ensure that money raised by the public is spent in ways that bring real and long-lasting benefits. These funds have to be spent on things – effectively enhancements – that are not otherwise provided by normal NHS funding.

Active Oxfordshire is a registered charity dedicated to fighting inactivity and helping our community get active, tackle health issues and change their lives. We work with partners to reach people in greatest need across Oxfordshire and our key focuses are increasing physical activity in children and young people, older people, those with long-term health conditions and promoting community activation. Find out more here: www.activeoxfordshire.org