A new scheme is helping people get established in their first six months of employment.

Funded by Chester-le- Street, Stanley and Mid Durham Area Action Partnerships (AAPs), with a £50,000 grant contribution from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (NELEP), Wheels to Work aims to ensure travelling is not a barrier for those starting in their new role or training.

Anyone aged 16 or over who has a provisional licence can hire one of 30 mopeds. People have the option to borrow either a 50cc moped for £25 a week or a 125cc for £30 a week.

The cost will cover Compulsory Basic Training (CBT), protective clothing, a heavy duty lock, insurance, breakdown cover, servicing and maintenance of the moped.

After the loan period, and in partnership with the local Credit Union, there may be an option to buy the moped.

Mandy Hall, Chair of Trustees of the Wheels to Work Project, said: “We recognised that often jobs exist but due to shift patterns and transport routes across County Durham it can be difficult to get to work for the time you need to start.

“If you are in the North Durham area then I would encourage you to get in touch to see if this scheme can be of benefit. The referral process also looks at other possible transport solutions such as car sharing as well as a scooter loan.”

After working on similar schemes in Derbyshire, staff from Rural Action Derbyshire willnnow be based in County Durham to deliver the project across County Durham.

Sandie Abberley, Wheels to Work Manager said: “This is an exciting opportunity for us to use what we have learned through the development of a successful Wheels to Work scheme in Derbyshire over the past 12 years.

“We are looking forward to offering residents in the eligible areas of County Durham the chance to take up work or training opportunities where lack of transport has up to now been a barrier.”

To find out more information about the scheme or to sign up, visit www.wheelstowork.org/county-durham, email info@wheelstowork.org or call 01629 592975.