New scheme to help vulnerable residents get around is launched in Richmondshire

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A new scheme to help vulnerable residents across Richmondshire access travel opportunities has won approval from district councillors.

The authority has agreed to fund an Alternative Travel Voucher Scheme targeted at residents of restricted financial means who find it impossible to use public transport because of their age or disability.

Members of the Strategy Board have allocated an £11,000 grant to a pilot scheme proposed by Age UK, who will administer and operate it.

The scheme will allow vulnerable residents with acute mobility problems to apply for travel vouchers.

To qualify a resident will need to also be in receipt of Council Tax or Pension Credit benefit.

They will then be able to apply for a £60 allocation of travel vouchers which will be issued free of charge.

These can be used to meet the cost of taxis, private hire, or community transport services.

They can also be used in conjunction with the Age UK and the St. Johns Centre shopping schemes.

Anyone who meets the mobility criteria but not the financial test will be able buy vouchers on a buy one get one free basis - with a minimum spend of £10 and maximum of £60.

“In our mission to engage with all sections of the community we were determined to help our vulnerable residents who experience great difficulty in getting around,” said Council Leader Councillor John Blackie.

“We invited voluntary organisations to come up with a scheme.

“Age UK has taken up the challenge with a proposal for a 12 month pilot exercise which we are very hopeful will be a great success.

“The charity has a great track record of running schemes to help vulnerable residents – but this will be the first time they have looked at running a transport scheme.

“It is very exciting that Richmondshire is a pilot for a plan that could be adopted across the county.

“Councillors wanted to address the travel difficulties in the Dales where public transport is at a premium.

“To help this community transport services like the Reeth Ring-to-Ride and The Little White Bus in Hawes are included in the scheme.”

To find out more log onto the council website at www.richmondshire.gov.uk