Virtual College has donated £2,500 to Leeds-based charity The Works Skatepark to enable them to establish a young people business (YPB) which aims to give disadvantaged children a valuable taste of what it is like to run an enterprise.

The YPB has secured a contract to maintain the building in which The Works Skatepark is housed. Virtual College’s donation will allow them to buy the tools and equipment they need to fulfil the contract such as a lawnmower and gardening spades.

The YPB will be run by young people from The Works Skatepark offsite education setting who will take turns to fulfil business functions ranging from HR to finance and sales. Any profits will be used by the YPB to fund trips and activities for the young people.

“The Works will be overseeing the maintenance contract on our estate, landscaping, litter picking and hedge cutting,” said Elliott Turnbull, CEO of The Works Skatepark.

“The aim is to allow young people to see the working of a company and realise how and why decisions are made, even those no one likes to make.”

Abby Dacres, General Manager of Virtual College’s Safeguarding e-Academy, commented: “Giving young people an experience of working life and the different kind of roles that make up modern businesses is invaluable.

“We’re proud to be able to support innovative projects such as this which benefit children and young people.”

The Works Skatepark is based in Hunslet, Leeds, in a 50,000sqft facility offering a range of play, sports and training provisions for children, young people and adults. The skatepark is the longest running skatepark nationally and is renowned for its events within the Skate and BMX community.

The Charity assumed control of the facility in 2012 and has since doubled turnover and the size of the internal space available and the range of provisions and training offered, including the opening of its own educational provision for young people aged 13 – 19yrs to achieve their academic goals and realise their potential career pathways.

The growth of the Charity came through using Skate and BMX to engage inactive young people disenfranchised with traditional sports. This led The Works Skatepark to create an AQA recognised Level 2 qualification in Skateboarding and BMX. The Charity also delivers BTEC Sport qualifications with Skate and BMX at the core of the programme.

Further information is available on The Works Skatepark Charity website here.

Since 2008 Virtual College has given over £200,000 pounds to children’s and young people’s charity’s right across the UK.

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