Wheely great gifts for key workers improve wellbeing

Sovereign Housing Association donated £5,000 to a crowdfunder scheme this week supporting key workers who need a bicycle to get to work.

The money for ten brand new ‘Trek hybrid’ bicycles and kit - including helmets, locks and lights - was awarded to the Gloucester Bike Project via the organisation’s Pay it Forward crowdfunder scheme, launched after their Facebook post advertising refurbished bikes for keyworkers attracted more than 2,500 responses. 

A further five bikes, paid for by the housing association, will be kept in a ‘pool’, meaning that key workers booking a room at Sovereign’s accommodation at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital will have the opportunity to borrow a cycle as part of their stay. When the bikes are not being used, they’ll be safely kept on site, in a newly renovated storage facility.

Maureen Parker, Project Co-ordinator from the Gloucestershire Bike Project, said: “It’s been absolutely brilliant to hand these brand new bikes over to key workers who really need that extra bit of help. 

“One of the bikes went to Bethany Moore, who’s a healthcare assistant in theatre, she was so thrilled, as it means she doesn’t have to rely on other people or taxis for lifts, when she’s doing shifts at all different times of the day. We’re also still looking for more donations of bikes to refurbish, so please keep them coming.”

Dominic Gregory, Key worker Business Manager for Sovereign, said: “At Sovereign we provide 226 properties in partnership with the Gloucester Trust spread over Gloucester and Cheltenham, giving hospital workers a safe, clean welcoming place to come home to.

“But we also recognise that - whether key workers are just passing through or living with us in the longer term - they need our support in other ways too. We want to do what we can to boost their mental health and wellbeing and hopefully this donation will go some way towards doing that.”

Emma Wood, Deputy CEO and Director of People at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We know that there are lots of benefits from using more active, greener forms of travel which benefit physical and mental wellbeing as well as the environment. 

“We are very supportive of our staff cycling to work where possible and schemes like this really do help. Over the last few weeks we’ve been overwhelmed by the messages of support and donations that we’ve received and I’d like to thank everyone who is helping our staff at this particularly challenging time.”

Sovereign has also donated £600-worth of tech for NHS staff needing to kick back and relax during their breaks from work at Leicestershire’s Royal Infirmary, in the form of two flatscreen TVs. 

Janet Coverdale, Head of Facilities at Leicester Hospitals, said: “The televisions provided by Sovereign have been put up in the hospital’s staff rooms where they can benefit all key workers, giving them a welcome break and a bit of a distraction from their day.”

Read more about Sovereign’s 30 year history caring for key workers.