Somerset

Rural charity receives 18 mopeds for Somerset teenagers

Somerset Rural Youth Project, Moped Loan Scheme
Image caption The mopeds were unveiled by the leader of the county council, Ken Maddock

Young people in Somerset are to benefit from 18 new mopeds as part of a scheme which is set to be scrapped.

Somerset Rural Youth Project's (SRYP) fleet was unveiled by Ken Maddock, leader of the county council.

He praised the scheme but said it was "highly likely" it would not receive further funding.

Now the charity has appealed for public donations to keep it running saying the mopeds enable young people in rural areas to access jobs and education.

David Clitheroe, chairman of the board of trustees for SRYP said: "The county council says quite properly it wants opportunity for young people and that's great but they have got to have access to them."

The project costs £90,000 a year to run. The council pays one third and another third is match-funded, which makes it easier for the charity to secure cash from other charities and public funds.

'Social activities'

Mr Maddock said: "It's not decided yet but I have to say it's highly likely [funding will be withdrawn] unfortunately.

"It's not something any of us wants to do but it's one of the things we cannot afford to do, if you put it beside other priorities."

The Moped Loan Scheme has run for 10 years and is open to young people who live or work in Sedgemoor and the Mendips.

Garth Vaughan, 22, lives in Butleigh and has used the scheme.

"I've been using one of the bikes to get to work mainly and it's enabled me to get to social activities which I would otherwise only be able to attend once a month if I'm lucky."

The mopeds are available for a six-month loan and the scheme can help up to 65 people a year.

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