Going your way? O
ne in six rural households do not own a car and for many people the local bus or train does not run when or where it’s needed. Across the country Car Clubs are filling a useful gap in mobility for rural dwellers.
Never heard of Car Clubs? They are a pool of different size cars for local people to use and whose members can hire one when they need to. They can then use a car for personal or business journeys without the costs or worry of owning and maintaining it. Car Clubs are ideal for people who only need a car occasionally or who don't find a lift-sharing scheme of any use.
So, how does a Car Club work? A Car Club either owns or leases a pool of cars on which it covers the costs of tax, insurance and maintenance, and makes them available to the local community. Members pay an annual fee and then pay by the hour or by the
day to hire a suitable vehicle on which mileage is charged but fuel is included. Bookings are made by internet or telephone and the vehicles are accessed via key safes or individual smart cards.
Evidence shows a number of benefits from the existing Car Clubs: they give access to a vehicle for households without a car and those for whom a second car may be desirable but unaffordable; they reduce private car use; they bring people together across the community and, perhaps surprisingly; they increase public transport use.
There are now eight Car Clubs operating plus two at the development stage. They are making an important contribution to rural accessibility and helping to reduce social exclusion. For the rural church, involvement in the setting up and operation of such schemes could
help provide a useful and perhaps vital area of service to the local community. n
For more information contact: The Countryside Agency 020 7340 2900 or www.countryside.gov.uk
Carplus – 0113 234 9299 or www.carplus.org.uk
Smartmoves – 01484 483061 or www.smartmoves.co.uk
WhizzGo – 0870 446 6000 or www.WhizzGo.co.uk
Graham Wise 12 B.C. Charity Walk
No – this is not a historical re-enactment, but a 12 mile sponsored walk around Bishop’s Castle. That’s the B.C. For 9 years now St. John’s Church, Bishop’s Castle has organised an autumn walk in the beautiful Welsh border valleys of the Onny, Teme and Clun starting and finishing at the Community College. Walking is the oldest, healthiest and most environmentally friendly form of transport – so it is good to see churches encouraging it.
What is distinctive about this particular sponsored walk is that you can choose your own good cause. 75% of the money the walker raises goes to their chosen cause and 25% to St. John’s Church as organiser. People come from all over the West Midlands and raise money from causes ranging from Christian Aid to Worldwide Fund for Nature and from hospices to Air Ambulance. In 2004 £3,000 was raised for good causes, of which £1,200 went to St. John’s Church.
Youth groups are encouraged to make the walk the centre of an adventure weekend. Accommodation can be arranged in local village halls on a self- catering basis. For information about 2005 arrangements contact Bryan Podmore on 01588 620541 firstname.lastname@example.org
Jenny Carpenter 4 www.arthurrankcentre.org.uk
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