Manchester skatepark exceeds initial crowdfund target with last-minute donations
The not-for-profit co-operative and community benefit society, which is looking to use the funds to create a vibrant community space for local young people and their families, set a target to raise £50,000 before 13 November.
With less than 24 hours to go, Projekts hit the initial £50,000 target and has now stretched the goal to £75,000 before 1 December due to ongoing interest from local businesses and the community.
Projekts MCR announced the month-long community fundraising campaign on 15th October, offering the city’s community the chance to help shape the identity of Manchester, by owning a share of a pioneering space under the Mancunian Way as it is transformed into one of the largest managed concrete skateparks in the UK.
So far the community share offer has attracted almost 50 investors from across the city. Individual investors donating between £100 and £3,400 each joined larger organisations such as local provider of housing and community services One Manchester who donated £5,000 as part of its ongoing CSR programme, and North West based social housing provider Onward Homes housing who also donated £5,000 to enable Projekts to serve the communities they work with. In addition, Co-operatives UK has agreed to match all funding received, doubling the pot.
Anton Schultz, social investment manager at One Manchester, said: “We’re delighted to help Projekts get over that 50% mark towards their funding goal. This project fits really well with our social priorities, as they share our focus on engaging young people in the communities we operate in, providing them with a social space, and creating a skate park which has capacity for all users, of all abilities. It’s a great opportunity for us to invest alongside other supporters in a sustainable community business that will have a long-term impact.”
Rosie Longden, social investment manager at Onward Homes, added: “Investing in Projekts is really important to us as it serves so many of the communities we work with. Being able to be part of its expansion and enabling Projekts to work with even more youngsters in the area is really important to us and our community. It is a brilliant long-term investment for the local community and we are really pleased to be able to help them to get even closer to their fundraising goal.”
The organisation’s aspiration over the next year is to expand its current ramp capacity by an additional 700m² of concrete ramps for all abilities, allowing the team to work with up to 10,000 more of Manchester's children and young people each year.
The skatepark is in one of the most deprived areas in England, with eight council wards that fall within the 10% most deprived in the country within a two-mile radius of the park. For the last five years, Projekts MCR has seen skatepark attendance from people living in those areas shoot up with the creation of female-only classes, adults’ classes and reaching over 3,000 children a year through skateboard coaching classes.
This crowdfunding offers the community the opportunity to own a share of the organisation, in return for vital funding which will facilitate the growth of the skatepark and enable it to offer even more educational, health, well-being and work programmes for hard to reach members of the community.
As well as the benefits to Projekts MCR, the donation will also have clear benefits to the investor. As well as the potential to own a piece of Manchester’s most unique spaces, investors will also be eligible for Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR).
John Haines, CEO of Projekts MCR, said; “In recent years we have seen a real appetite from the community to support the vital work we do here at Projekts MCR. They are as passionate as we are about offering a positive space for Manchester's children and young people to thrive and we feel that offering them a chance to actually own part of the organisation as it grows is the best way to say thank you and deliver on our commitment to help more and more people.
“I’m so pleased with the community fundraising efforts so far - skateboarding is fun and so is Projekts MCR. We want to create a space that people love to spend time in, a space that Manchester can be really proud of. We’re so close to hitting our goal now, we’d really like to thank everyone who has already donated, and all those who are getting behind us for that final push to hit the necessary target to allow us to expand.”
Projekts MCR is run by people living locally, looking to have the maximum positive impact on communities surrounding the skatepark. Currently, the skatepark sees over 18,000 visits a year and delivers over 20 coaching sessions a week to schools and youth-related groups in Greater Manchester.
Funding will enable growth of the skatepark, the city’s first skate cafe, community space and a spectator viewing platform, all carefully designed to enhance ramp use and increase capacity for all users, all abilities and all activity types. In addition, the funds will enable the creation of a youth engagement room and meeting space to provide classes, coaching and training for even more young people.
The increased space will reduce overheads by replacing the costly wooden skatepark with the more robust concrete surface. The increased capacity will generate more income through entrance fees, parties, events and coaching classes, anchoring their potential for growth. The viewing area will allow parents to see their children across the whole skatepark, enhancing security and safety for all participants.
Published: 23 November 2018