Runners and riders ready to deliver essential meds to self-isolating residents

An innovative new service, connecting running and cycling clubs with local pharmacies, is helping to deliver much needed medication to self-isolating residents in Cherwell.

Published: Monday, 6th April 2020

Following the Government’s advice that people with underlying health conditions should stay at home to protect themselves from Covid-19, chemists in Banbury and Bicester have seen a growing demand for their courier services to transport medication directly to patients’ doors.

To alleviate that pressure, Cherwell District Council has collaborated with Banbury Harriers Athletics Club, Banbury Star Cyclists’ Club and Alchester Running Club, to set up Oxfordshire Supply Runs, a new delivery service using local athletes as the go-between for pharmacies and patients.

Cllr Andrew McHugh, Cherwell’s lead member for health and wellbeing, said: “This excellent service has been set up in double-quick time, to respond to one of the most challenging situations of our generation.”

“Pharmacies are under extreme pressure to deliver essential medication to some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Asking local athletes to courier medicines during their daily exercise not only eases those demands, but also reduces the number of essential journeys people take to pick up their prescriptions.”  

Paul Dean, president of Banbury Star Cyclists’ Club said: “The Covid-19 pandemic is incredibly concerning but I have no doubt we can beat it. For us, being involved in Oxfordshire Supply Runs is a win-win. Not only does it give us a way to support our community by delivering essential medication, it also allows us to do it on our bikes, doing something we love.”

The scheme has been approved by the Thames Valley and North Oxfordshire Pharmaceuticals Committee and shared to other district councils in Oxfordshire to enable them to set up a similar project. Deliveries have already begun in Banbury, with the first run due to take place in Bicester in the coming days.