FOR those people living in towns and villages in North Yorkshire without a car, life can be a headache.

Sometimes it can be more than just a headache; it can be an insurmountable obstacle to training, jobs, a social life, contact with family, hospital visits and many other issues that affect quality of life.

Masham is one of the many areas of rural North Yorkshire thwarted by a lack of bus services.

But Dales communities are resourceful and a new lift sharing scheme - which matches up car drivers and passengers going to or near the same places - has proved an enormous success in one community.

Masham Liftshare was started in Masham last year and has proved so popular North Yorkshire County Council is now helping to extend the project by paying for a project officer and hopefully roll it out to other parts of the country. The Bishop of Ripon, Rt Rev Dr Helen-Ann Hartley is so impressed she has become patron.

Car sharing is one of those initiatives that has all the hallmarks of a very good idea, but nationally has failed to get off the ground on any grand scale. While Peter Kay's hit comedy series Car Share took place entirely within the confines of a shared commute, most journeys to work still involve one solitary driver in an otherwise empty car.

It's such a shame; lift sharing cuts congestion and pollution, helps people avoid crammed, expensive train journeys and rail delays, saves on parking and petrol costs and helps building stronger links within communities. Organised correctly, it’s relatively safe.

So it’s great news that Masham is leading the way when it comes to great ideas.