Onboard Skatepark Sheffield Ltd are honoured and excited to announce their success with the Youth Endowment Grant.

The grant will enable Onboard to provide both ‘remote learning’ and ‘face to face’ activities aimed at engaging 16 of the most vulnerable young people in South Yorkshire aged 10 years and above.  Each young person will be given a key-worker that will work directly with them 3-4 times a week during the summer holidays and then throughout the year ahead with the aims of reducing their involvement with criminalised behaviour, building their confidence and self-esteem, and enabling them to reach their potential both socially and educationally.

“There is a major gap in provision during holidays and typically these young people regress in their education attainment and are vulnerable to abuse, self-harm, ASB and criminalized behaviour.  Together with the effects of Covid-19 this has put huge pressure on some young people and their families”, said Amy Cooper, the Founder of Onboard Skatepark.  “Over the past couple of years we have successfully piloted various voluntary and remote enrichment activities.  We are delighted that with the support of the South Yorkshire Violence Reduction Unit and grant from the Youth Endowment Fund we will now be able to pull all this learning together to provide consistent year-round support and to evaluate the impact.”

“We have a strong, enthusiastic, experienced staff team that can deliver really engaging activities through extreme sports and develop trusted bonds with the young people.  This trust is vital.  The work has already begun and there has been a real buzz.  There is so much activity taking place – both cleaning and riding outdoor skateparks, building BMX, photography and editing for example. Our partnership with other professionals has already seen social workers on BMX and Community Youth Team workers on scooters!”

The Youth Endowment Fund will also be supporting an external evaluation of Onboard’s work and the evidence gained of the impact will hopefully provide the springboard to roll out this type of service from other skateparks and extreme sports’ venues around the country.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner said: “We know that the long summer holidays can be a time when some, more vulnerable young people can be easily drawn into anti-social and even criminal activity.

“I have visited Onboard Skatepark and know first-hand that they can deliver first class sessions that keep young people engaged. At the same time the staff, through their commitment and enthusiasm, have the respect and affection of the young people and as a result are able to exercise real influence on them for the good.

“It is also important for me, as chair of the Violence Reduction Unit, to have projects evaluated so that we can build up our knowledge of what works in keeping young people away from violent behaviour.”