East Sussex: Goodbye For Now!

Yamaha Scooter in Hastings

East Sussex Wheels 2 Work has been a brilliant project to run over the last eight years. We started back in 2013 with a new workshop and five excellent new employees and for four years operated from impressive premises in Eastbourne, involving local biking groups and staging some other  events to involve the community.

In our first year we even won the ‘Social Enterprise of the Year’ award from Sussex Business Council. 

That was amazing for us as we had worked so hard to establish the new business.

For the next four years the business went from strength to strength and all looked well for the future but…

In 2017 our funding was significantly reduced which caused us to close the main premises on Hammonds Drive. The subsidy on each and every one of our scooters makes it affordable for those on low incomes, without the subsidy Wheels 2 Work just doesn’t work. We kept the program running from our headquarters in Devon, which worked well, with day to day issues supported by Eastbourne based business’.

The program continued to support local communities with funding through East Sussex County Councils Active Access for Growth fund. It was great to work with other local service providers to continue project delivery in the area and we supported some really inspiring young individuals to enable them to access employment, education and training opportunities helping them to achieve their own personal goals in life.

The real reason for this post is actually to announce the closure of the program, we were unsuccessful in gaining continuation funding and have therefore had to close our doors for the last time. It’s a little bit sad, but without funding to subsidise the scooter loans we are unable to continue with Wheels 2 Work in East Sussex.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank East Sussex County Council for their support over the last 8 years, with special thanks to Lisa Simmonds and Marina Littek. Without their support none of this would ever have happened. We would love to come back given the opportunity, Wheels 2 Work is definitely needed in the area and we proved how successful it can be.

Over the duration of the scheme we have supported around 550 local people to improve their prospects and introduced them to joys of life on two wheels helping to reduce traffic congestion, link up existing services and reduce the carbon footprint of their daily commute.

Yamaha Scooter in Hastings

We gave them freedom, independence and choice and I’m proud to say I was a part of that.

So it’s an end to my 5 ½ hour commute, the many nights away from home, the walks in the lovely Sussex countryside and the joys of A27 traffic on a Friday evening.

Goodbye for now, Max Jowett. East Sussex Wheels 2 Work CIC

CHANGES

Official Announcement. 3rd October 2017
Devon Moto and Devon Wheels 2 Work are going through some changes. 
We have had a very tough year which came to a head at the end of March this year. March is the time when we get our annual insurance renewal premium. We had been expecting an increase of the usual 3%, but this year it was to be very different. We were paying around £350 per bike for our loan scheme bikes and were expecting to pay around £360. However, when the schedule arrived our insurance was quoted at £975.00 per bike plus insurance premium tax at 12%, making our new premium a massive £1,092.00 per bike. With around 100 bikes insured understandably our budget was under significant pressure. This was almost a 300% rise in our insurance cost, as you can imagine we were more than a little shocked!

We had to think fast and quickly reduced our fleet to 75 bikes, but this wasn’t enough so we further reduced to 50 machines, still struggling to make ends meet. A further blow hit us when during April when our premises was hit by a catastrophic flood which damaged a large proportion of our showroom stock taking us off the scene during the highest trading period of the year. We had to close the doors to get everything back in order but we never really recovered from that. Following the flood, trading continued to be in decline placing further financial pressure on the business.

In August we decided that we had to make some changes to protect the Wheels 2 Work motorcycle loan scheme to ensure that we can continue to provide the essential service we have been delivering to people throughout Devon for the last 17 years. We reluctantly decided to close the trading arm of the business and concentrate on the loan scheme, so it is with a very heavy heart that I am now announcing the closure of the Holsworthy showroom and workshop facility. The Devon Wheels 2 Work programme will continue, operated on a mobile basis by Max. 

Devon Wheels 2 Work has supported in excess of 5000 people over the last 10 years with independent personal transport to access employment, education, training and social activities.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our loyal customers for supporting us and the Wheels 2 Work programme over the last four years in Holsworthy. Your custom has helped to provide much needed support for those struggling with transport all over the County. Your investment has changed people’s lives and I thank you for that.

IF YOU’VE GOT THE WILL TO WORK, WE’VE GOT THE WHEELS

If you’re looking for work and haven’t got the money or desire to shackle yourself to a car, then Wheels 2 Work is the perfect solution. We provide scooter loans to enable you to get to places of employment, education or training. It’s a liberator –because it frees people to find work as and where they want, rather than depending on a bus timetable or how far they can walk. As our Chairman, Ian Robertson, says: if you’ve got the will to work, we’ve got the wheels. That sums it up perfectly. ’

Former MP Lembit Öpik is now Director of Comms & Public Affairs for the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG). He admits to making a ‘massive detour’ to Holsworthy to celebrate the launch of this new scheme. ‘I can honestly say I’ve travelled from London to Leeds via Devon! I just had to come and underline the importance of this tremendous project for the region. It really does open up job prospects in a way that nothing else can. Devon Wheels 2 Work will do more for work chances than many Government schemes. MAG is 100% behind Max and his team. For their client, it’s a game changer, and that’s worth adding 500 mile to my weekend for many times over!’

SUSSEX BUSINESS AWARDS 2014

Representatives from Devon Wheels 2 Work were in Brighton on the 10th December to attend the Sussex Business Awards, and came away with the “Social Enterprise of the Year” Award on behalf of East Sussex Wheels 2 Work.

In April 2013, Devon Wheels 2 Work was awarded the contract to deliver a Wheels 2 Work scheme in East Sussex as a result of over 12 years of experience and an excellent track record for delivery and sustainable business development.

Devon Wheels 2 Work receives support from Devon County Council, but also generates income from its motorcycle workshop and the Devon Moto showroom to help keep the rental costs as low as possible for its customers. Any profits that we make are reinvested into the scheme and the local area.

The Eastbourne-based East Sussex Wheels 2 Work programme has been established in the same way, but has benefitted from the years of development in Devon. Within 12 months of opening the showroom doors, it has 90 bikes out on the road and has helped 150 people solve their transport issues. It has been a very busy but very exciting first year, and the teams in both Holsworthy and Eastbourne are very proud of their achievements and the recognition from the Sussex business community.

Max Jowett, Chief Exec of both Wheels 2 Work Programmes said “We’re really pleased to receive this award, and very proud of all that East Sussex Wheels 2 Work has achieved with the support of East Sussex County Council and the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. The recognition from the Sussex business community is a fantastic endorsement for us, and is significant for the sustainable development of Wheels 2 Work nationally. The Social Enterprise award rounds off a very busy year for us and is a testament to what can be achieved in a short time through this established business model”.