Return of the U-Drive Van

Despite the challenges of the economy, Bolton-based van hire specialist U-Drive is thriving...and founder Stuart Lever feels this bodes well for the health of the Bolton economy as a whole.

Mr Lever, 45, says the current upturn in his bookings is showing the economy is on the mend.

“I have increased my fleet of vans to 25,” he said. “Bookings are booming and things are moving again.”

With U-Drive’s turnover soaring, Lever and his wife Melanie are delighted to be running a viable business.

But he puts his success down to the help he received as a teenager from the Prince’s Trust after he was out of work for eight months.

“I was advised to apply for the Enterprise Allowance Scheme, but I was told I had to contribute £1,000, which I didn’t have,“ he said.

“The Prince’s Trust gave me some money and I bought a van for £575 and started doing removals and removing people’s rubbish, and advertising in the then Bolton Evening News as a ‘man-and-van’.

“I worked myself so hard I made myself physically and mentally sick. I was running myself ragged at the age of 30.”

But despite his success in business, Mr Lever says he has always believed in giving something back to the community.

“I served 12 years on Bolton Council and have served as a mentor at Bolton Lads and Girls Club,” he said. “That was something I was delighted and proud to do.”

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