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Jobseekers get on their (hire) bike in Maidstone, Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks under moped loan scheme

By Claire McWethy

It's that catch-22 situation – you can't afford a car because you don't have a job, but you can't get a job because you don't have a car.

Now a solution has come to West Kent, with the arrival of a moped loan scheme aimed at helping people find work.

The Wheels 2 Work project, which is the first of its kind in the county, has been rolled out across Maidstone, Tonbridge and Malling, Tunbridge Wells and Sevenoaks.

Jobseeker Caroline Holland is one of those to use the Wheels 2 Work project

It is available to residents aged 16 or over who have an offer of full-time work, training or education but find it hard to take it up due to transport problems.

Mother-of-two Caroline Holland was the first to sign up and passed her one-day moped training course on March 1.

The 40-year-old secured a job as a support worker as a result of her new moped after previously leaving a job due to transport problems.

She said: "I had been taking driving lessons because when I was younger I had a serious crash and it really knocked my confidence.

"I heard about this scheme at the Jobcentre and was surprised they would take me as I thought it was only for younger people.

"It is a really good idea to help people looking for work."

Caroline Holland secured a job thanks to her hire scooter

It is being targeted at jobseekers in rural areas that are poorly served by public transport, or those who do jobs such as caring or cleaning and need to move between customers.

For £28 a week, people can hire a 50cc scooter with safety gear. The fee includes a one-day training course, tax and insurance.

The East Surrey Rural Transport Partnership scheme, which costs £107,050, is funded by Kent County Council.

Marcus Dode, from the partnership, said: "This bespoke transport solution is particularly helpful for those who do not have any viable public transport option.

"Not having transport or a job often go hand in hand and it's a pattern Wheels 2 Work can help break."

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