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W2W-Wheels to Work

W2W-Wheels to Work

Postby Rob1965 » Sun Feb 09, 2014 1:41 pm

The Wheels 2 Work concept – providing cheap two wheel transport for young job seekers - received a vote of confidence this week with an endorsement from Transport Minister Robert Goodwill, who was pleased to announce that the number of schemes has risen 35% to 33 since 2012 with several others in the pipeline.

Speaking at the Wheels 2 Work Association’s (W2WA) second annual conference in London recently, Goodwill sympathised with the “chicken and egg situation” that exists for people who are unemployed in the countryside and can’t afford transport, which prevents them from getting jobs. He stated, “Wheels 2 Work is one solution to that problem. That’s why we have supported schemes through the establishment of the Wheels 2 Work Association.” He also related a story about how he had been a W2W “pioneer” himself, in buying a former young employee a motorcycle, the cost of which was deducted from his wages each week.

The W2W concept was also endorsed by 19 year old Gabi Ohlsen, the Young Person’s Representative on a Parliamentary working group set up to tackle rural isolation. Gabi is a staunch advocate of affordable and accessible travel for young people, and came to address the conference to offer her support. She considers the Wheels 2 Work concept is the most appropriate way to tackle a lack of transport for those living in the countryside, who may well have unemployed parents too. One study she highlighted described these as a growing “rural underclass”. The group Gabi belongs to have looked at a number of alternatives to provide rural transport, but W2W seems to be a favourite, “Wheels 2 Work is effective and innovative as it helps on an individual basis, serving individual needs. It’s much more cost effective than running a bus to all the different villages and hamlets.” “I thoroughly believe that all young people should know about it and have access to it, if they are in need of the service. The fact is there has been very little political discourse on rural isolation, even though it affects many many young people.”

Wheels 2 Work schemes are run independently by councils, charities, social enterprises offering the loan of a moped, motorcycle or scooter to people who would otherwise not be able to access work relying on public or private transport. Young people get help with the right training and they are issued with protective clothing, which they have to wear. This means they are introduced to motorcycling in a safe and structured way and the schemes have excellent safety records as a result. Typically these help young people, who live in rural areas, but increasingly the schemes are opening in urban areas too. Mobile carers are one group who are often keen to take up this offer, as it offers a cost effective way of getting between clients. These schemes literally change lives, offering mobility for economic and personal use, thereby reducing social exclusion on both counts
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