An electric bicycle scheme in North Kensington which has been helping vulnerable residents get prescriptions to their door will be extended for another eight weeks with treble the capacity thanks to council funding.
The e-cargobikes.com scheme began in February, with 10 free hours each week for local businesses to use the bikes for deliveries. With the onset of the pandemic, all 10 hours have been used by two local pharmacies to deliver medicines and by community organisation Bay20 to deliver meals to people self-isolating.
Now five more pharmacies in the area have said they would like to use the bikes to deliver prescriptions to residents’ homes, helping those in vulnerable groups. The bikes will be on offer for free for 31 hours per week.
Cllr Cem Kemahli, lead member for environment said:
“Originally this was about cleaner air – a car free option for businesses delivering their goods in the borough. With the coronavirus pandemic it has taken on another important purpose helping residents get food and medicine deliveries to their door.
“We’re very happy that we have been able to work with e-cargobikes.com to extend the scheme – anything we can do at the moment to support our pharmacists, volunteers and residents is a no brainer.”
Businesses using the scheme will book the hours directly with e-cargobikes.com, who also supply the rider of the bike.
Clare Elwes, co-founder of e-cargobikes.com, said:
“This crisis has increased our sense of purpose. We have always been dedicated to improving air quality in Kensington. Now we are keenly aware how well placed we are to serve our neighbours. All our riders – who have kept delivering throughout the lockdown – are dedicated to serving our community with care and pride.
“We are really pleased to be working with RBKC on this important scheme which is helping support some of the most vulnerable in our local community.”
Local community organisation Bay20 has been making 80 meals every day for people isolating, shielding or in financial difficulty during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bay20 has been using e-cargobikes.com for four hours per week to help get food to local people.
Fiona Doherty, community development director at Bay20 said:
“We’re making up to 27 deliveries a day to individuals and families of different sizes. We have our own vehicles too but the bikes have been a real help on our busiest days. We’ve had several different riders and they’re always polite. We’ve managed non-contact deliveries and they’ve gone really well. The riders pull up, I load up their boxes and then they’re gone and making the deliveries in North Kensington.”
The original trial was funded by the Department for Food and Rural Affairs project Clean Air Villages and led by the Crossriver Partnership on behalf of the Council.