Wales

Corwen carshare club offers 'lifeline' to rural areas

Steve Shuttleworth of South Denbighshire Community Partnership with the new car
Image caption Steve Shuttleworth of South Denbighshire Community Partnership with the new car

People suffering "transport poverty" in rural areas now have the chance to own a car - without actually owning a car.

Members of the new community car club in Edeyrnion, near Corwen, Denbighshire, pay an annual £50 fee and are charged by the hour or by the day to use an electric vehicle.

South Denbighsire Community Partnership (SDCP) secured £450,000 for the scheme.

It aims to tackle "social exclusion" it claims is caused by the cost of car ownership and limited public transport.

Susan Elan Jones MP said the scheme was a "lifeline", especially for elderly people in the area.

It is also hoped the project will improve access to services and renewable energy generation.

Transport manager Steve Shuttleworth said: "Bus services are poor and people must be given the chance to travel, just to visit family and friends and for social reasons.

Image caption The electric car can go more than 150 miles on a full charge

"The beauty of the car is that once you are behind the wheel you have the freedom of movement and travel that everyone else has.

"You might not be able to afford a car and go places but if you join, you're back on the road for £50 a year."

Big Lottery Wales, Welsh Government-funded rural development agency Cadwyn Clwyd, and the Bus Services Support Grant, provided the funding.

Other similar community car share schemes are already running in Cilgwyn, Pembrokeshire and the Powys villages of Talybont-on-Usk, Llanidloes and Machynlleth.

Image caption Volunteer community driver Karen Jones said the scheme offers "independence" to a lot of people

Karen Jones, who intends to join the club, lives in Carrog and voluntarily delivers meals on wheels.

"It could help an awful lot of people with transport, hospital appointments and seeing friends," she said.

"It will also give people freedom that they don't have.

"There are a lot more people who are isolated that people think, who don't see many people every day."

Applicants must have a driving licence, proof of identity and residence. Trips are charged at £1 per hour and 25p per mile.

Membership provides insurance, breakdown cover, servicing and MoT.

Image caption SDCP admit electricity points are "limited" but users can plan their route using online apps

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