Changemakers: Campus Skatepark is engaging with Bristol’s youth

Andre Seidel and Tim Nokes run a sopcial enterprise that uses the power of skateboarding to run clubs, classes, parties and exhibitions

This week’s Changemakers Top 100 special edition features the world’s leading thinkers, shakers and agitators. Throughout the week we’ll be highlighting just a few online.

This social enterprise uses skateboarding to engage with Bristol youth, running two skateparks and a skate shop in the area. The Big Issue Invest-backed organisation approaches youth work as something best achieved when kids can socialise away without “pressure to conform” – revolves around skateboarding, and its anti- establishment connotations, is no coincidence.

Directors Andre Seidel and Tim Nokes launched the business in 2011 and have since amassed thousands of members. The weekly timetable across its two venues – ‘The Pool’ and ‘The Park’ – includes toddler takeovers, skate tuition, bike nights, rollerblading lessons and girls-only sessions. There are regular week-long ‘skateschools’ on offer too, and the space is used to host exhibitions and parties.

The youth work involved is deliberately informal, with all staff trained in how to communicate with kids but keeping the focus on mentorship through skating. The social enterprise also runs a retail apprenticeship, with some of the young people coming up through it and into employment with the business.

Now the focus is on making Campus as accessible as possible. This year it’s in the process of bidding for funding to make free sessions available for kids who can’t afford them (last year it received a grant to buy equipment for disadvantaged children to hire before skating). The directors are also looking into setting up wheelchair access and classes for disabled people. Read more about Campus here.

Read the full article in this week's Big Issue.
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