40 bikes renovated for NHS workers after being abandoned at Sussex railway stations
More than 40 bicycles that have were abandoned at Sussex railway stations have been renovated for NHS workers in a scheme initiated by Southern Rail.
Southern’s community engagement team saw the opportunity to reduce the ‘mountain’ of unclaimed bicycles, give a ‘thank you’ to NHS workers and promote safe, sustainable travel, all at the same time.
Southern approached the county council’s Bikeability team and other partners to set up the renovation and donation scheme.
Ed Clark, cyclist training development officer, said: “We’ve had a team of six working on this project for about six weeks now: these are Bikeability instructors who, if it wasn’t for the coronavirus outbreak, would be working in schools and colleges, so instead are working from home, renovating bikes.”
Every month, bikes are kept at Southern’s maintenance depot in Horsham in case their owners decide to recover them.
The condition of the restored bicycles varied from those needing spares, which might take a couple of days to arrive, some needing a full renovation taking four to five hours, to others that only needed the final safety check and some more air in the tyres.
Southern Rail’s community engagement team then matched the bike to the rider, via NHS Trusts, and they were delivered to the recipients, county-wide, by the Bikeability team.
Ed said: “The reaction and feedback when I’ve delivered bikes has been really positive. They were all frontline NHS staff who, after their work indoors, wanted to be out in the open for their journeys home and this has allowed them to do that.”
Fiona Sayers, an advanced nurse practitioner with Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust, received one of the bicycles.
She said: “I use it nearly every day and I love it! I have already felt the health benefits. Instead of driving my car to work in Worthing, or the shops, etc, I will now use my bicycle to get around.”
The Bikeability team continued their repair work to provide bikes to NHS staff – while adhering to the Government’s social distancing guidelines – throughout last week, which was national Bike Week (June 6-14).
Tom Moran, executive sponsor for the scheme at Southern’s parent company Govia Thameslink Railway, said: “It’s really fantastic that our initiative with the Bikeability team is transforming the lives of nurses and other key NHS workers.
“We have worked directly with local NHS trusts in Sussex to match the renovated bikes with specific nurses and other health workers who will really benefit from them.
“At a time of great national challenge, we are proud to help keep Britain moving by supporting everyone who still needs to travel by rail.
“Now, more than ever, is a time when we all need good neighbours, to stay connected, and help each other out.”
The scheme has now used all Southern Rail’s current stock of abandoned bicycles that can be made roadworthy.
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