On yer bike: Scheme helps teens into work

Lucy Buck from Pitstone who is taking part in the Wheels to Work Scheme
Lucy Buck from Pitstone who is taking part in the Wheels to Work Scheme
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A moped rental scheme needs further funding so it can continue to help teenagers to get on their bikes for work.

Wheels to Work, a Community Impact Bucks scheme, started in the Vale in 2010 and helps teenagers between 16 and 19 who live in rural areas access employment or training by loaning them mopeds.

But with funding coming to an end in April the independent charity is now waiting to see whether it has been successful in securing a further £300,000 lottery grant to finance and expand the scheme over five years.

Wheels to Work coordinator Vicki Parker said: “We have always got a waiting list of between three to six months.

“With the money we can buy another 20 bikes and increase the fleet to 35.”

Teenagers who live in rural areas and can prove difficulty in accessing work pay a £40 monthly wear and tear fee 
and a £100 deposit. In return they get the bike for a 
nine month period.

Lucy Buck, 18, of Pitstone, is one teenager who banks on the service to help her 
attend her mechanics course at Aylesbury College.

She said: “If it was not for the moped I would not be able to get into college because there’s no public transport.”

Ms Buck has almost finished using Wheels to Work and is now learning to drive. Since the project was first piloted in Aylesbury and since expanded into Bucks it has helped 50 young people secure employment while 50% have been able to pass their driving tests with the money they have saved.

Head of rural and community projects, Michael Hunt, said: “We started the project because we recognised one of the barriers for people getting on with employment and training was their ability to go places.

“There was a growing gap in opportunities for young people to be independent and not having to rely on parents. The service enables kids to get established. It has proved a success.”