Merseyside social enterprise HYPE is says its #BikesForNHS campaign launched in April was a huge success during the #coronavirus pandemic. Tony McDonough reports
Social enterprise HYPE Merseyside says its #BikesForNHS has been a huge success with 186 cycles loans to NHS workers since April.
HYPE launched #BikesForNHS at the height of the coronavirus epidemic and the scheme received hundreds of applications from NHS workers across the Liverpool city region. It enabled them to avoid the cost of taxis when public transport was not available.
The organisation is focused on getting more people involved in cycling with the aim of cutting congestion on our roads and persuading people to adopt a healthier lifestyle.
The #BikesForNHS Merseyside initiative even gained the support of the transport minister, Chris Heaton-Harris, who described it as a “fantastic scheme” in a Zoom call with organiser Matt Houghton.
HYPE has also seen 67 unwanted bikes donated by the public and is still appealing for more, so that they too can be refurbished and loaned to the NHS workers who applied for the scheme.
During the call, which also included Jenny Box, head of behaviour change in England, James Scott, director of behaviour change at Cycling UK and Alexandra Jarvis, from the Department for Transport, wider initiatives to encourage people to take up cycling were also discussed.
The success of the initiative with NHS workers at The Royal Liverpool Hospital, Aintree Hospital, Broadgreen Hospital, The Walton Centre, Arrowe Park and the Clatterbridge Hospital has also encouraged other local organisations to invest in similar schemes.
Magenta Living, the largest provider of affordable housing in Wirral, has committed £6,000 to provide up to 60 of their residents with a bike and access to workshops delivered out of Hype Merseyside’s new unit at the Environmental Innovations Centre in Birkenhead.
The free bikes will be loaned Magenta Living residents who are front line workers for three months. They will use Strava to log their journeys and complete a monthly survey, to feedback on how having access to the bike has improved their lifestyle.
Matthew Houghton, chief executive at HYPE Merseyside, said: “We set out to loan 100 bikes to NHS staff in the first phase of the campaign and we exceeded that target by almost double – 186 in total.
“The response has been incredible and we are proud to still be supporting the fantastic frontline workers who applied to the scheme with free, healthy and safe transport until the end of the year.
“It is also wonderful to see other local organisations such as Magenta Living recognising the potential health and lifestyle benefits of cycling and investing in our bikes for their residents.”
Established in 2007 to deliver workshops for teenagers in deprived wards during the summer holidays, HYPE Merseyside’s cycling and development plan now focuses on getting more people, more active, more often through cycling.