PRIVATE PASSIONS

Published: 06/10/2005 Volume 115 No. 5976 Page 32

Simon Ward, project manager, Big Lottery Fund therapy and support team at Camden primary care trust, has gained a reputation as a celebrity among fellow staff since spearheading a successful bike bank scheme. The scheme's launch was attended by London Mayor Ken Livingstone and Camden and Islington Mental Health and Social Care trust chief Erville Millar.

'I am interested in keeping fit and ideas for a 'greener' life, so starting a bike bank at Camden PCT seemed to be a prefect incentive for staff to improve their health and reduce costs at the same time, ' he says.

'I applied for a grant from the Improving Working Lives initiative and was lucky enough to get£5,000 to put towards 12 fold-up bikes. Since the scheme started in April 2005, two have been stolen but generally it has been a roaring success.

'People can book the bikes on an asand-when basis. Now, around nine out of the 12 bikes are in constant use; I cycle to work and back every day. It is great to see people who have never cycled before become really keen on it.

The amount We have saved in taxi fares has been significant.

'I am no Lance Armstrong, and I only cycle from about one mile away in Kentish Town, but every little helps.

'Generally, the feedback has been really positive, especially since We have put cycle routes to and from local hospitals online for staff. You just need someone to champion the benefits of schemes such as this and, fingers crossed, it will be a success.'