Formed as a response to the continuing COVID-19 crisis, the Nottingham Bike Aid project has been set up to provide assistance to those seeking alternative ways of making their commute to work. Sustrans - the charity that aims to make it easier for people to walk and cycle - will be engaging with keyworkers and employers to identify travel needs and provide personalised travel plans. These will help key workers to identify the best routes for their commute and are especially useful for new cyclists.
A number of local organisations, including Community Bike Workshop and Nottingham Bikeworks, are working to refurbish donated bikes for keyworkers in the city. Local cycling charity Ridewise UK will deliver the bikes and offer cycling tips and advice to help commuters feel confident on the road. For those that prefer, there’s also the option of loaning a bike provided by the University of Nottingham, Nottingham Trent University and Nottingham City Council.
The scheme is being made available for anyone who is a key worker or volunteer living or working in Nottingham.
Clare Maltby, Sustrans Interim England Director, Midlands and East said, “Sustrans is pleased to be able to play its part in response to the COVID-19 crisis in Nottingham. The Nottingham Bike Aid project is a great example of local charities and the City Council working together to quickly put in place the support that keyworkers need to travel safely and healthily to work. We are thrilled to be able to contribute our expertise in travel planning and engagement to help support those people who are working hard looking after all of us.”
Nottingham City Council are also a key partner in the project and they’ve been funding Sustrans to deliver the Access project which has been helping jobseekers back into work. Councillor Adele Williams, the City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Local Transport said, "I'm really proud that in these unprecedented times, we've been able to work together with our partners to reshape our current jobseeker and business cycle support services to provide help for key workers and jobseekers. Cycling can be a very attractive, flexible and affordable alternative mode of transport and now key workers and jobseekers being recruited by key sectors, such as the NHS, health and social care, food retailers and essential manufacturers will be able to benefit from the active travel package we’ve developed. As long as social distancing guidance is followed, cycling also offers a great opportunity for daily exercise, and can provide key workers in stressful jobs with an opportunity to unwind, helping to support mental health and wellbeing too.”
Commenting on the project, Ian Keetley, Managing Director at Nottingham Bikeworks said, “At Nottingham Bikeworks we are excited to play our part in enabling Key Workers in our community to travel safely as they continue to perform their vital roles in tackling the effects of COVID-19. Unfortunately during lockdown we have had to suspend our community projects; however it is great to see our facilities, skilled mechanics and volunteers not going to waste as the refurbishing of bikes to support this fantastic project gets underway.”