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’.
Urgent action is needed to tackle fuel poverty in rural communities
5th October 2021
Today we’re adding our voice to a chorus of over 20 organisations including environmental campaigners, local authorities, trade unions and consumer organisations who are united in calls for the government to take urgent action to stop even more people from slipping into fuel poverty.
New data shows that fuel poverty is at risk of becoming endemic in the UK at a time when the energy crisis could push one in five households into circumstances where they are unable to afford to heat their home.
In England, poverty is typically imagined as an urban phenomenon. However, a map of England published by the End Fuel Poverty Coalition shows that it’s not just inner-city areas where people are struggling to keep warm.
Analysis of fuel poverty figures and local authority data on measures taken to improve energy efficiency locally show that Shropshire, Herefordshire, King’s Lynn and West Norfolk are some of the worst parts of the country affected.
Unfortunately, the situation will not come as a surprise to hardened souls in the ACRE Network used to representing rural communities. Older homes in the countryside are some of the most difficult to insulate, many rely on expensive heating oil and there is hidden deprivation to be found in every village from remote Northumberland to tourist honeypots in Cornwall.
Rightly, the coalition is calling on the government to instigate measures, including urgent financial support to the most vulnerable and the deployment of programmes to improve the energy efficiency of homes, to alleviate the financial pressures made worse by rapidly escalating fuel prices.
But we would go further. Rural communities - by virtue of their physical geography and history of collective action – are well placed to experiment and lead the way in developing local renewable energy solutions which, given the right support and conditions, could help to reduce dependencies on the national grid and market fluctuations.
Until then, rural dwellers will need to wrap up warm because it could be a very long winter ahead indeed.
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National charity says £3 million fund announced by government will safeguard the future of many valued rural community buildings
Timed to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, the government has committed to supporting over 100 rural community buildings with capital improvements. This follows in the footsteps of investments made in village halls as part of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee (1897) and King George V‘s Silver Jubilee (1935).
There are over 10,000 village halls to be found in most rural communities across England, providing residents with what is quite often the only place to meet and socialise locally. They host a wide range of activities from exercises classes, playgroups to weddings and many accommodate vital services such as post offices, doctors’ surgeries and shops.
The £400 grant (replacing what was a £200 loan) will be paid to everyone with an electricity meter by their electricity retail supplier through discounts to their bills and for pre-paid meter users as a credit to their pre-pay arrangement. This means no fundamental disadvantage to off gas grid users of heating oil, they will just have very small electricity bills to compensate for much higher oil purchases. There is, of course, an issue for the small number of people not on the electricity grid at all who will get nothing.
There will however be the question of people off the gas grid having to find very large sums to re-fill their oil tanks when the £400 will drip into their accounts by way of reduced electricity Bills, so the problem becomes mainly a cashflow one.
For those on means tested benefits there will be £650 paid in two instalments, there are as yet no details specified about when. This could help with the cashflow issue depending on when it is paid. There may be a case for ACRE and other rural organisations to call for this to be paid up front to those off gas grid in order to enable them to fill oil tanks over the summer and smooth out demand whilst enabling timing choice to get the best price.