Page last updated at 14:32 GMT, Monday, 23 November 2009
How to get 21 people into a car

members of Llani car club with the VW Lupo
In August 2009 the club bought a nine-year-old VW Lupo

Llanidloes-based Llani Car Cub was launched in July 2007 and has three vehicles and 21 members, six of whom rely on the car club for their use of a car. The idea was the brainchild of Andrew Capel who tells us more about it.

I used to dread the annual MoT. Invariably there would be a large bill to pay repair the car or replace it.

Then there is the tax and insurance to be paid as well as maintenance and of course the tyres need to be replaced at some point.

I was also horrified that our annual mileage was in excess of 18,000 miles, given that I travelled a lot by train and we cycled a lot. This led me to into forming a car club locally.

We now drive less than 6000 miles a year, we cycle more and taxi less for our children, who are now very fit
Andrew Capel

A car club is a form of community car hire.

There are essentially two types of car club, one is run by volunteers and can be termed a community car club and the other is run purely as a business.

Llani car club is community-based, with four volunteers who set it up and continue to see that it runs smoothly.

The club maintains the cars and the members just pay for their usage.

Rural

I had been thinking about setting up a car club for a while, when in the summer of 2005 I was on a course which required me to initiate a community-based project.

I started researching how it might work in my local town of Llanidloes.

I considered working with Community Transport or Llanidloes Energy Solutions, but it became clear that I would have to set up a separate organisation.

I found out about other rural car clubs. There was only three of any significant size in the UK, the nearest being 25-miles away over the mountains in Machynlleth.

Many people said that car clubs only really work in towns and cities, but my impression was (and still is) that it is the members of the car club who make it work.

I struggled to find a way forward and many times I tried to ignore the whole thing, but it just would not go away.

Bank account

In the autumn of 2006 I reached a turning point when I came across three other local people who were also very interested in the idea.

Together we started discussing the information I had collected and identified some key elements which had to be in place for it to happen.

These included, how would we get a car as we had no money? How could we insure it for any number of drivers and what would it cost? And what charging system would we use and how would it work?

In February 2007 we decided to formalise the organisation so that we could have a bank account.

Our official name became "The Llanidloes and District Car Club", but we still refer to it as Llani car club.

One of our members was able to get a grant from PAVO (Powys Association for Voluntary Groups) so that we could get a website developed and have an official launch.

We had a member of Machynlleth car club come over to visit us and give us a talk about their experiences of setting up and running a club.

In addition to the committee we had five other people turn-up, of which two were new faces. We learned more about how another car club had been set up including what to do and perhaps more importantly what not to do.

Also we decided just to get the car club up and running for ourselves and then promote it.

In May we had solved all the key elements except one, we had no car.

Our car was not suitable as it was on its way out, then one of the committee members, Bob said "You can use my car".

Suddenly we were on and we got really excited and it was scary too, as now we knew this was for real.

Bike rack

We set a date for the official handover of the car, 9 July 2007. There was a slight hiccup as the person who had offered to develop a booking system for us, was now too busy to do it.

I did some searching and came up with the idea of using a Google calendar, which was free, easy to use and still in use today.

In August 2009 we decided to scrap our first vehicle, the Peugeot and replace it with something smaller.

We bought a nine-year-old VW Lupo using club funds.

It has proved to be very popular and has the added bonus of having its own bike rack which fits neatly onto the towbar.

We now have three vehicles and 21 members, six of whom rely on the car club for their use of a car.

We now drive less than 6000 miles a year, we cycle more and taxi less for our children, who are now very fit. We do fewer journeys and spend less money on travel. We are no longer tied to a car, it is such a joy, a real freedom.

For more information about Llanidloes and District Car Club go to our website which has a link on the right hand side of this page.




SEE ALSO
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