Self-sustainability strategy secures funding for SKIDZ

Self-sustainability strategy secures funding for SKIDZ

The New Year heralds an exciting new phase for motor project SKIDZ which is to forge ahead with plans to develop the charity into a nationwide operation.

The plans follow an overhaul of the High Wycombe-based charity’s operational methods to secure a sustainable future for SKIDZ which has also received £100,000 of grants over recent months, reflecting confidence in its new approach aimed at making the organisation more self-sufficient.

SKIDZ has been seeking to match a pledge and subsequently large grants confirmed since September include two £20,000 sums for core funding from The Rayne Foundation, which was created by property developer the late Baron Rayne, and the Barbara Ward Children’s Foundation. A further £10,000 from the Rothschild Foundation, founded by the banking dynasty, will also go towards the charity’s running costs.

Originally set up in 1997 in response to a surge in car crime in the High Wycombe area, SKIDZ’ focus was on disadvantaged, disengaged and disaffected 13-16 year olds whom it sought to re-connect with mainstream education via motor vehicle studies delivered in an adult environment.

Since then SKIDZ has steered more than 8,000 youngsters to a brighter future in the South Bucks region. The courses have proved so popular that they have now been extended to allow local schools, colleges and adults to access a range of specialist courses including NVQ studies.

Now SKIDZ, under the guidance of Chief Executive Officer Graham Andrews, is proposing to roll out courses nationwide, based on the successful template developed in High Wycombe, with the ambition of providing ‘accessible-to-all’ motor vehicle education and training across the UK.

Mr Andrews says that at the same time SKIDZ is determined to expand the scope of its courses and create independent funding streams to reduce its reliance on the benevolence of individuals and organisations.

He said: “To survive and enable growth in times of austerity it has been essential to develop courses that aren’t purely focused on disadvantaged youngsters but are accessible to anyone keen to learn about motor studies. We have now developed a series of new courses which are being taken up by local schoolchildren and students, and importantly we are also providing opportunities for the 1 million-plus young people who are regarded as NEET (not in employment, education or training). “We are also working on creating special foundation courses to enable those who are unemployed to train with us and get employable skills without impacting on their benefits.”

Mr Andrews says many young people in the NEET category may have Special Education Needs, be from areas of deprivation or be excluded from mainstream education. NEETs are more likely to suffer poor health, more likely to become involved in crime and more likely to earn less in the course of their lifetime.

“Our courses offer the opportunity for these youngsters to develop skills to enable them to get into employment and our courses can certainly make a massive contribution to help the Government to save money. The individual life-time cost of a NEET person is estimated at £56,000*. Our research shows that the 250 young people we have helped at SKIDZ from 2009 to 2012 would have saved the public purse about £14 million. Replicating our work on a nationwide basis will help thousands of young people with the potential of saving the Government hundreds of millions of pounds.”

Mr Andrews added: “Our mission is to provide motor vehicle education and training that is accessible to all through a UK network of sustainable and self-sufficient centres of excellence, and we have been working hard to create a number of independent funding streams to enable us to realise this goal.

“However, grant funding continues to be extremely important to us because it supports our day-to-day work with students – in particular those who are disadvantaged, while we continue to develop other sources of income. We also believe it represents an understanding that what we are doing here is worthwhile, a confidence in our plans for a self-sustaining future and belief in our ability to deliver that strategy.”

The charity has launched a number plate business Samar’t SKIDZ to provide motor manufacturers, dealerships and fleet firms with everything they need to create their own number plates on demand. The project, being championed by SKIDZ Patron Paddy Hopkirk (pictured above), the legendary rally driver, is in its infancy but SKIDZ believes it has massive potential with profits from the enterprise going to support SKIDZ students.

Broadening the range of courses offered at the garage workshop has also seen fresh income from schools and colleges which can now offer places to post-16 students looking to develop their skills further to SKIDZ and older people who are unemployed or seeking a career change.

Graham says: “We are exploring opportunities around attracting a broader spectrum of students and also intend to move forward our plans to roll out our programme via centres around the country. Fundraising continues to be a vital part of this process so we hope individuals, organisations, Trusts and Foundations will continue their kind support, which is so appreciated.”


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