Lockdown Love: Coventry CTC Member Group
Up to 600 patients a day
Cycling UK members make up about a third of the 24 volunteers who help run the coronavirus vaccination programme at Tile Hill Primary Care Centre in Coventry - most of them can ride there from home.
This comparatively modest centre has, astonishingly, been vaccinating up to 600 patients each day, running sessions from seven surgeries in the south-west of the city.
The operation is superbly managed by Matt Grant, who is a Cycling UK member and commutes 13 miles to work on his e-bike.
Matt has always thanked the volunteers for their support, commenting that the vaccinations could not be done in such numbers without the help of the people who direct patients as they arrive, marshal them towards available vaccinators, and then keep them under observation as necessary for the 15 minutes following their injections.
Patients, too, are full of praise for the efficiency of the arrangements and often return with biscuits and cakes to say thank you.
The Cycling UK volunteers also undertake admin roles, including logging patients into the system, and recording each vaccination. They are all members of Coventry CTC Cycling UK Member Group (celebrating its centenary this year), and Cycling UK affiliate group Earlsdon Wheelers.
Cycling UK member Dave Hearn, who is also a ride leader and a professional Bikeability instructor, is part of the team.
He says: "I also volunteer at the coronavirus vaccination clinic at Woodside Medical Centre. My wife, Margaret, who is also a Cycling UK member, is a practice nurse who is vaccinating at the moment, so I was inspired by her.
"I give as much time as much as they want me to, which is usually two or three days each week, supporting patients arriving for their vaccinations. I cycle to and from the health centre, which is three-and-a-half miles each way.
"In my other volunteering roles, I have on occasions done some unpaid 'learn to ride' sessions with folk. I'm also looking forward to co-ordinating the annual Meriden Cyclists' Memorial Service, which hopefully will take place in September in this, its centenary year. In normal times, I am a ride leader with Coventry CTC as well."
"I feel proud when I see people leave with a smile and it gives me a great sense of satisfaction.
Dave Hearn, Cycling UK Coventry CTC volunteer
Pride and satisfaction
When asked what he gets out of volunteering, Dave says: "I hope to have played a small part in the smooth running of the clinics: a few people need convincing of the importance of being vaccinated, so hopefully I've been doing my bit to ease the fears of nervous patients.
"I feel proud when I see people leave with a smile and it gives me a great sense of satisfaction. To anybody considering volunteering, I say have a go, it can be heart-warming."
Going the Extra Mile
Are you using your bike to help out in your local community? Or do you know anyone else who has? Maybe they've been delivering groceries and prescriptions, or helping the homeless? Perhaps they've been helping to put people's bikes back on the road or have set up Zoom calls and quizzes for their group or club to maintain morale?