- Three stories of how the Gloucester Bike Project’s ‘Gift-a-bike scheme benefited key workers during the pandemic
- Over 100 bikes donated to help key personnel get to work when public transport carried the threat of infection
- One key worker said it restored her faith in human nature
- Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl, who contributed to the bike fund, paid tribute to the project organises for coming- up with the idea
It is a story that shows up the best and the worst of human nature during lockdown. A key worker’s experience that illustrates the difference between selfishness and selflessness.
“I work at a supermarket and we have been taking a lot of abuse from people when we can’t let them buy as much stuff as they want. I have even been spat at for enforcing the rules”, she said.
“Then, when my bike was stolen from work I was so angry, I felt like it wasn’t worth doing my job. But when the Gloucester bike project offered me a bike and a free good security lock, I couldn’t believe it”.
The Gloucestershire Bike Project’s offer to ‘Gift-a-bike’ to NHS and other essential staff at the start of the pandemic was a simple idea, aimed at helping key workers get to work when public transport carried the threat of infection.
On collecting her ‘new’ bike, the supermarket worker said, “When I got to the shop, the guy who helped me was so nice and told me I deserved it and I was doing a great job that I didn’t need to thank him. I am blown away. I still can’t believe it.
“Walking to work at 11 o clock at night is no fun, especially when it takes nearly an hour. My lovely new bike gets me there in 15 minutes and it’s locked up safe”.
It is just one of many testimonies from key workers who benefited from the Gift-a-Bike initiative. 25 bikes, sets of lights, helmets, locks and cycling jackets were gifted using money from the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) which was one of many organisations supporting the scheme.
One beneficiary said, “Words can’t explain how appreciative I am for this. In these tough times, it’s amazing to know that other people care about us”.
Another said, with tears in her eyes, “I’ve just ridden the bike for 2 hours, I meant to go out for 15 minutes, but I love it so much, I have just had the best 2 hours I’ve had since this began”.
PCC Martin Surl said, ““The Gloucestershire Bike Project was already a funded organisation and when they approached my office, we were happy to do what we could to support them.
“They deserve the credit for coming-up with the idea and all the work they have put in since to make it a success”.
Gloucestershire Bike Project is a not-for-profit social enterprise offering opportunities to ex-offenders and other vulnerable people through training, volunteering, work experience and personal development.
‘Gift-a-bike’ Co-ordinator Maureen Parker said, “The project has been so well received. It has been an utter privilege to be part of it.
“The funders, the people who have donated bikes, the volunteers working at home to build the bikes, our staff and the beneficiaries, it has all felt like one effort to get through this.
“So far we have been able to Gift 100 bikes and accessory sets. We are entirely out of budget sadly now, but will continue to try to raise funds to keep it going”.