North Yorkshire County Council has handed over the first community car to people in Nidderdale as a local solution to transport needs across this rural area.
Keys to a brand new Peugeot 308 diesel estate car were handed over to Nidderdale Plus, the local voluntary organisation, by Cllr Tim Swales, the county council’s chairman and Cllr John Fort, the local member for Pateley Bridge, at the Nidderdale Show yesterday.
The car will be based in Pateley Bridge and, with a pool of volunteer drivers, will provide transport for people in areas where no public transport exists.
Cllr Fort, who is also president of the Nidderdale Show said: This is a bespoke scheme for the Nidderdale area and is like manna from heaven for an area like ours which is very rural with limited public transport.
Nidderdale is looking forward to having the car, volunteer drivers have gone through the necessary training and we are ready to go. We hope it will go a long way to resolving transport issues and preventing isolation for some members of our community.
If successful, the scheme could be replicated in other parts of North Yorkshire. The scheme comes out of the “Stronger Communities” programme through which the county council supports communities to help themselves and create local solutions to services at a time of significant financial challenge for the authority.
The project has been developed following a series of public meetings with the county council last year where the community expressed their concerns about lack of transport. It became clear that some sort of community transport scheme was needed. The county council worked with Nidderdale Plus on the best solution – and a community car rather than a minibus was felt to be a more flexible form of transport and easier to manage.
Jane Fowler, chair of Nidderdale Plus said: We are really pleased to be part of this exciting project, we already have 10 volunteers signed up and ready to start providing essential transport for people who might otherwise be left isolated in their home.
County Councillor Chris Metcalfe, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Integrated Passenger Transport said: It is crucially important to this authority that people across this extensive, largely rural county are able to continue to access vital services and maintain day to day social contact.
The community car for Nidderdale is an excellent example of the innovative solutions being brought forward to meet specific local needs.