A North East car club has been named a winner in a UK social enterprise competition.
The national contest, now in its 15th year, recognises the work and achievements of Britain’s most inspiring and successful social enterprises. There are 70,000 social enterprises in the UK.
Durham-based Co-wheels Car Club was a finalist in the environmental category.
The firm is now a leading national car club operator, set up as a social enterprise, that provides a network of community car clubs across the UK enabling members to access cars on a ‘pay by the hour’ basis thus encouraging people to think more about their journey, only taking the car when it’s the best option, so helping to cut car use and tackle climate change.
The Co-wheels approach to car club development helps re-connect individuals with communities, isolated communities with the bigger society and society with a greener environment
Co-wheels was set up by a small group of local residents - each passionate about promoting more sustainable transport options and to reducing their car use.
The social enterprise was born out of their frustration that nobody was running a car club anywhere in the North East and had no intention to do so - despite the research showing the demand. The social enterprise now operates in more than 35 UK towns and cities, has over 4000 members and 225 vehicles across the UK. Co-wheels director Richard Falconer said: “We are delighted to have won the Social Enterprise of the Year award and encouraged to see how quickly the car club has grown in such a short space of time.
“People are becoming really aware of the cost of car ownership, both financially and also environmentally through the cost to the planet of driving unnecessarily. The car club allows people to give up their car, but still provides easy, convenient access to a car when they need one through the car club.”