The launch will take place this week at the annual Classic Car Show

Blackwood’s Peoplehood project is being unveiled in Buckie this week, with affordable access to electric cars becoming one of the benefits on offer.

The official launch of the £12.5million Blackwood Peoplehood project is timed to coincide with the town’s annual classic car show.

Peoplehood aims to positively transform the lives of people in three very different Scottish communities – Buckie being the most rural and therefore facing the greatest connectivity challenges. The three-year initiative to develop a neighborhood-based independent living model will help people live healthier, happier and longer lives. It will create a master plan for welcoming places with age-friendly homes, supported by state-of-the-art technology and safe outdoor spaces for physical activity.

The funding will allow each zone to benefit from free tablet PCs and Wi-Fi to allow participants to connect digitally, while providing electric bikes, electric cars and a multitude of equipment and activities in neighborhoods, all according to demand.

Simon Fitzpatrick, Blackwood’s Commercial and Development Director, who is leading the project, said: “Rural communities face a range of accessibility and connectivity challenges. The electric car program is just part of how we hope to help improve transportation infrastructure in Buckie, as we will also be rolling out e-bikes and trikes.

“We’re really excited to roll out the program and thrilled to have Enterprise Car Club and other industry partners on board. Anyone, regardless of background or financial situation, can use the service. Our hope is that it will offer a new means of connectivity to open up the area, which for some people may feel inaccessible.

The partnership with Enterprise will see the provision of two electric cars to Buckie, improving connectivity while removing the financial burden of owning a vehicle.

Murray McAdam, Regional Sales Manager at Enterprise, added: “By registering for Project Peoplehood, participants will be able to reserve and access electric cars through our easy-to-use app.

“You can book for as long as you want and that’s all you’ll pay – rather than all the extra costs of owning a car.

“As well as access to cars in their neighborhood, residents will also be able to use one of 1,400 Enterprise Car Club vehicles across the UK, giving them easy and affordable access to low-cost vehicles and low emissions if traveling away from home.”

The launch will take place at the annual classic car show on August 28. Activities will include games and competitions as well as booths explaining what Peoplehood is and how it will help shape the future of independent living in Buckie.

Simon Fitzpatrick added: “The most exciting part of Peoplehood is that each neighborhood decides what it wants and what it should look like. Co-design is at the heart of it all. We are not going to come and tell people what we think they want, rather we are there to listen to them.

“The more people who sign up, the better. This way, people in the neighborhood get the equipment, activities and initiatives that will bring them the most benefit, whether it’s a bicycle library, a gardening course or outdoor gym equipment.

The Peoplehood project has received £6 million in UK research and innovation funding from the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund/Healthy Aging Challenge – the only project in Scotland to have received funding – with 6 an additional £.5 million from Blackwood and its nine industry partners.