WheelNess e-trike loan helps feed Inverness families during COVID-19 outbreak
The Cycling UK project lent an electric trike to Councillor Emma Roddick, who created the ‘Covid-19: Merkinch & South Kessock Community Support group’.
The SNP councillor transports groceries, prescription medicines and creative boxes to families who are self-isolating or in need of help in the Merkinch and South Kessock areas of Inverness.
WheelNess, based in Inverness, is a project which gives those with health conditions or low incomes access to a bike – enabling them to make a positive change in their lives.
It’s really important that, in a time like this, the community comes together to support each other.
Brendan Dougan - Senior Development Officer for WheelNess
Brendan Dougan, Senior Development Officer for WheelNess, said: “We’re delighted to be able to help Councillor Emma Roddick’s community support group.
“It’s really important that, in a time like this, the community comes together to support each other.
“By lending Councillor Roddick the e-trike, it has enabled her to transport vital goods to families in need throughout the community.
“It is brilliant to see the group having such a positive impact on local people.”
The trike provides more storage space than other bikes and has an electric assist, which makes it easier to carry a heavy load.
Councillor Roddick set up the support group on 20 March and has been regularly transporting goods to around 20 households, with the help of 50 volunteers.
She hopes to expand their services to the city centre within the next week.
Councillor Emma Roddick said: “I don’t drive myself, I’m a cyclist. So, I thought ‘this is going to be an awful lot of stuff to be carrying around on a normal bike’.
“The e-trike has just been amazing – I can get so much on it at once and I’m doing all these weekly shops for folk nearby.
“It’s been so positive, it’s the greatest part of the job. It’s lovely during a really high anxiety time to see people just trying to do what they can.”
Inverness Foodstuff, a hub which supports the homeless and challenges food poverty, has collaborated with the support group by providing meals to those using the service who can’t afford to pay for a food shop.
It’s lovely during a really high anxiety time to see people just trying to do what they can.
Councillor Emma Roddick
The support group has also collaborated with the Libertie Project, a social enterprise that runs arts and craft activities for offenders and those at risk of offending.
The project provided creative activity boxes to the support group to give to local families who may be struggling.
Libby Bligh, chief executive of The Libertie Project, said: “A volunteer came and collected the boxes contact free and then within a couple of hours I saw on social media that Emma had delivered them to families on the bike.
“I had been feeling a bit down, and a bit useless to be honest, stuck inside. But when I saw the feedback it absolutely made my day.
“Everyone came together, no red tape and in true Scottish community spirit we pulled together, each one doing what they were able to do to support families in need.”
Those living in the Highland area who are struggling during the current crisis can contact Highland Council’s COVID-19 helpline on 0300 303 1362.