Our Malvern Hills Car Clubs celebrated its 10th Anniversary recently and issued the following press release.
Press Release, for immediate publication
Malvern Hills Car Clubs is a community-based car sharing scheme, and last week, on 1st April, it held its tenth AGM. The original plan had been to hold this at the Cube, and to combine it with a birthday party, with members bringing food to share. Given current circumstances, the meeting was held virtually using Zoom (an online conference facility).
The birthday party atmosphere was maintained by some members arriving with gin and tonic and crisps, or cups of tea and biscuits, and the celebration started with everybody present sharing something that they appreciated about the car club. One member who has recently returned to the Malvern area after several years of living abroad was grateful that she has not had to buy a car since she came back. A member who lives in the northeast and works in Ledbury is very happy that he did not need to buy a second car for the time that he spends here. One couple were pleased that they have not needed to own a car for ten years - since the car club started. Another member expressed gratitude for the fact that there are fewer cars on the roads, and fewer cars parked on the streets. Several people also mentioned the commitment and devotion of the volunteers who run the club, and the sense of community and connection that being a member of the club creates.
With this being an AGM, the accounts were presented, revealing a small surplus and a healthy bank balance. However, the car club is not immune to the Coronavirus. On the contrary, the impact has been immediate. Members are responding to the lockdown advice and only using the cars for the permitted outings with the result that usage for March was a mere 10% of normal.
In the short term, the car club’s finances will enable the club to ride out the immediate drop in usage. The conversation about contingency plans to help the situation was followed by thoughts about the opportunities for the future. Two different opportunities were discussed, the first related to the Covid-19 effect, and the second to possible expansion plans.
First, with almost everyone moving around less at the moment, some people may decide that they can continue to drive less, and therefore that they do not need to own their own car. The car club is a very good solution for people who only use a car two or three times a week in normal times. Similarly, households with two cars may decide that they can manage with owning only one, and use a car club car as a substitute for the second. There are already many car club members in this situation.
The second opportunity is the potential for partnerships with local villages. The parish councils of six villages in the area - three in Worcestershire, and three in Herefordshire - have recently declared a climate emergency, and are looking at actions that they can take locally to address this. They are exploring arrangements with Malvern Hills Car Clubs as one possibility - one which would not only help with climate change, but would also support people living in rural locations for whom transport options are limited.
Notes for Editors
Malvern Hills Car Clubs was founded in 2010. It is one of the initiatives to come from Transition Malvern Hills.
The club is run entirely by volunteers, which keeps costs to a minimum.
The club covers Malvern, Colwall and Ledbury. 140 households are members, and the club has seventeen vehicles, including one electric car and a pick-up truck.