A scheme providing affordable moped hire is enabling people living in rural Richmondshire to access work, apprenticeships and training.
The Wheels 2 Work scheme, managed by Hambleton Community Action, now has a fleet of 35 mopeds which are available on loan to local people who are unable to access other public or private transport.
Last year, Wheels 2 Work received £8,000 from Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT).
It was one of 20 awards totalling £91,000 given by YDMT to celebrate the charity’s 20th anniversary, recognising the important contribution of some of the inspirational groups, organisations and individuals whose work helps to sustain and celebrate the Yorkshire Dales.
Wheels 2 Work used their award to buy a new van to transport and deliver mopeds to customers living in remote rural areas, helping local people to stay in their home village or town rather than being forced to move out of the area to access training or employment.
Andy Reddick, Wheels 2 Work coordinator, said: “Our customers can feel isolated, but the mopeds make it possible to not only access the workplace, but also to have a social life that is not restricted to within walking distance of their home.
“I’d like to thank Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust for the award – we are genuinely so grateful for this support which will guarantee the scheme for several years.
“It is fantastic for us and the community.”
People who join the scheme are mainly, but not exclusively, young.
In return for a small weekly contribution, customers have access to a moped for six months, during which time they are encouraged to budget and save for their own transport to maintain access to the workplace.
One-to-one mentoring and support (for example, with CVs and job applications) is also provided.
Alicia, 19, lives near Reeth and has been involved in the scheme for just over a month, using her moped to get to work at the local pub, and to meet family and friends.
Alicia said: “I mainly use the scooter for work, but it also means that I can visit my mum and grandparents as well as going on day trips further afield.
“It’s nice to have the freedom to get around.
“I would definitely recommend the scheme – it is great for helping people to get out and about.”
Wheels 2 Work also provide free protective clothing and a helmet along with training opportunities, including the Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) before taking the moped out onto the road.
Insurance, tax, servicing and 24/7 emergency rescue are also arranged and paid for by the scheme.
David Sharrod, YDMT chief executive, said: “Over the last twenty years YDMT has helped others to achieve a fantastic amount in this special corner of the world.
“In celebrating our 20th anniversary we wanted to recognise this excellent work.
“I am delighted that we have been able to support the Wheels 2 Work scheme which is opening up training and employment opportunities to many young people, as well as people living with health issues, financial crisis, and ex-offenders, providing a chance at a fresh start.
“The scheme has already made a huge difference.”
For more information about Wheels 2 Work and to apply, visit hambletoncommunityaction.org/our-services/wheels-2-work.