Eastbourne residents with a lack of suitable public or private transport will soon be able to benefit from Wheels to Work as the scheme prepares to open its first East Sussex base this weekend.
Wheels to Work (W2W) offers the loan of a moped, scooter or small motorcycle, plus helmet and safety clothing, for any length of time so long as you live, work or study in East Sussex.
It is thought this plan could reduce unemployment rates in the area as more people can access jobs and training around, about and outside of the town.
After its launch to local schools, Job Centre Plus and councillors, the premises at Unit 6, Redward Business Park, Hammonds Drive will open to the public on Saturday, September 28 between 10am and 4pm.
The scheme, for which the start-up money comes from the East Sussex County Council’s Local Sustainable Transport Funding pot, has been set up by Wheels to Work veteran Max Jowett. He said, “This is a unique scheme in the UK. The Government fully support these schemes - they are a vital tool in helping long-term unemployed people into work or training, while also offering a great community facility to local bikers.”
This is the 29th scheme in operation in the UK but the first where a different financial model has been put in place that will see W2W charge for the services it offers in order to fund the mopeds and scooters.
The premises will start with 60 bikes and will also offer a conference facility, ‘bench time’, where members of the public can use tools to fix their bikes, and bike valeting.
On awarding the very first W2W scheme, in Shropshire, with a Big Society Award, David Cameron said, “This is an invaluable service without which many of these young people would have to move away from friends and families.”
People of any age can apply for a bike - an option which has also proved popular among mobile carers who feel it is cheaper, quicker to move through the traffic and a lot easier to park.