Vital transport scheme for young people is safe for another year

A VITAL transport service which gives youngsters across Uttlesford access to education, training and employment has been saved for another year after the district council stepped in.

Z-Bikes, run by a national charity Catch22, has loaned mopeds to 140 young people aged 16-21 to prevent them from becoming stranded in the district’s rural areas.

Cabinet members agreed to award �20,000 to the service from a contingency fund set aside to help voluntary organisations at risk of closure.

The Z-Bikes scheme needs to find �60,000 every year to run and currently has a shortfall of about �40,000 for the coming year.

It is designed to help young people overcome the ‘transport trap’. Those applying must demonstrate that they could not access employment or education without the support of this scheme.

Youngsters currently pay �40 per month to use the service, along with a �250 refundable deposit.

Since the service was launched eight years ago, of those who have been supported 33 per cent of the young people have used the mopeds to attend college or sixth form, 17 per cent have used it to access part-time work to maintain their place at college and 55 per cent to attend full-time employment.

Most Read

Diana Cross, manager of Catch22 in Essex, said: “Z-Bikes is a vital scheme which helps young people who would otherwise not be able to access employment, education and training opportunities.

“With a lack of reliable and affordable public transport links in parts of rural Essex it can create real problems for young people – that is why Z-Bikes is so important.”

Mrs Cross added that the charity was constantly looking for alternative financial support to keep the service running, Catch22 are also looking closely at alternative models to ensure sustainability for the future.

Any companies or organisations which can help can contact Mrs Cross on 01279 408370 or e-mail