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March 25, 2009

Wheels to work

One of the disadvantages of rural living can be transport – or lack of it. Getting to work in particular can be one of the biggest challenges– even if the distance is relatively short. A community transport project in Cumnock in Ayrshire has come to the rescue of local young people facing this problem in the first few months of getting a job. Scooters are being loaned out at a pepper corn rent

Cumnock in Ayrshire is a good example of an area where public transport doesn’t work well and so is one of the main barriers towards young people being able to take up employment or training opportunities. The opportunities may be just a few miles down the road but because people don’t have access to a car or have good local bus or train service they just can’t get to the places of work or training.

Coalfield Community Transport is helping to crack the problem with a simple yet innovative solution. To young people caught in this situation they lend scooters at a peppercorn rent for a number of months allowing them to save some of their earnings in order to buy their own means of transport and continue with their training or employment.

The organisation exists to provide accessible, affordable and appropriate transport solutions to groups and individuals who are economically and socially disadvantaged in the coalfield area of Ayrshire. Within its fleet of vehicles it owns 20 scooters which it lends for 6-9 months at a rent of £2.50 per week. Training and protective clothing are also provided. This gives the young person seeking training or employment a flexible mode of transport. For example, it allows people to get to places of work at awkward shift times.

The scheme is called Wheels to Work and is the only project of its kind in Scotland. Across the UK there are 50 such schemes. To find out more click here