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Fiona - Electric Tricycle User, Age 51. 'I purchased an electric tricycle as I have Multiple Sclerosis and can no longer ride a bicycle due to poor balance and mobility issues. I have found that being out on my tricycle that my fitness has improved and it has had an impact on weight loss. With the pedal assist I am still able to pedal and use my legs which is important to keep my muscles active, reduce numbness and I am also able to cycle further including hills and this also helps with fatigue as I tire easily. I have enjoyed being able to access local rural areas which has had a positive impact on my mental health and wellbeing, especially during this difficult time due to Covid-19 and being isolated as a clinically vulnerable person. This has meant that I have been able to get out of the house and feel safe whilst exercising. There are a lot of support groups on social media where I have met other like minded cyclists who have offered invaluable support and advice and I have met up with another lady tricycle rider as a riding companion.'
Mrs Surfleet a registered customer of the car scheme thanked HWRA for an excellent service and also to personally thank the driver, Terry for his help and assitance in providing transport to her medical appointment.
Wheels to Work North Lincolnshire Scheme - John from Grimsby ‘I joined the scheme in 2021 after hearing about it from a family member. I was in need of transport to get to and from work as I had my motorbike stolen and was not able to replace it. As a short-term arrangement I was relying on a family member to take and pick me up from work. For me the key benefit of the wheels to work scheme was that it provided me with a scooter that enabled me to get to and from work, it also gave me back independence and freedom. I would definitely recommend the scheme and I have done so to friends who are need of transport to get to work. Don’t’ underestimate the scooters as they are extremely reliable . My experience of the scheme was great, and I was glad that I was successful in receiving a scooter via the scheme’.
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ACRE Campaign for Broadband funding for isolated rural communities

18th January 2018

The Government has pledged 95% of homes and businesses will be connected to superfast broadband by 2017 and says it is exploring how to extend the programme to the remaining 1.4m ‘hard to reach’ households - but has not indicated what funding or resources will be committed beyond the pilot schemes.

HWRA’s Peter Hirschfeld said: “We welcome the investment this Government is making in looking at what solutions might work for these 1.4m households but they need to know that funding will be made available to roll out solutions to ensure they are not left behind.

ACRE, the national voice for England’s 38 rural community councils, fears the most isolated villages could be left waiting years for the service – leading to a digital divide.

Susan Oliver said: “Superfast broadband is essential in a world where so many aspects of our lives are, and can only be, conducted online.

“Our concern is that the final 5% will all be in rural areas, leaving families, farmers and businesses out in the cold, creating a two-tier society. Families in rural communities often have to travel miles to access services, or to shop and bank and having superfast broadband would make a real difference. Getting online is also of huge benefit to those who are lonely or isolated.”

HWRA’s plea came as the House of Commons Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee released its report on rural broadband and digital-only services.

In its summary, the committee noted that ‘the difficult geographical nature of some communities must not be used as an excuse for a lack of broadband or poor broadband speeds. These challenges should encourage investment and innovation in new types of technology’.

ACRE’s Head of Rural Insight Nick Chase said: “The obvious answer is for the next Government to invest in helping these ‘hard to reach’ communities to find alternative superfast broadband solutions.

“We have seen great innovation and partnerships that have already provided solutions for some rural communities. Wireless networks are up and running in Essex, East Yorkshire and Norfolk, for example – one group of villages even routes its network via a church tower.

“These solutions work for the communities, have their buy-in and have brought cost-effective superfast broadband to communities who could otherwise have been waiting years.

“Rural communities want to make things happen - but they need support from organisations like the ACRE Network and they need investment.

“Alternative solutions are out there - but taking them further will need commitment from the next Government to ensure investment is provided in rural areas as it has been for urban.”

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ACRE welcomes new grant scheme for improving village halls

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£400 grant will be paid to everyone with an electricity meter

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