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Friday, May 26, 2017

Ramping it up!

Tony Berry, Community & Sports Development Manager for Rampworx Ltd, writes about exciting times ahead for this successful and popular business:


Some of you may have noticed that we currently have a shop on Market Street, which we have been trading from since September 2011, but what many of you may not know is that Rampworx is a registered children's charity with a rich and elaborate history!

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“Rampworx offers coaching clinics and regular coaching schemes… photography, graffiti and video arts projects…”

Rampworx also has the largest indoor extreme sports facility in the UK, based in Aintree, Liverpool which offers safe and secure facilities for over 1000 disadvantaged young people per week, aged 5 and over who partake in Inline skating, BMX, Skateboarding and Scootering. Throughout the year we also host major national and international events for some of the Worlds top riders.

Established in 1997, the project Rampworx was established in July 1997 by co-founders Rob Godfrey and Ian Robinson (formely Managers at Asda in Liscard) because of the lack of skate facilities available in the Northwest. Rob and Ian decided to leave their jobs, remortgage their homes and open up a 10,000 sqft skatepark in Hartley Avenue,  Aintree just a stones throw from our existing site in Netherton.  In-liners, boarders and BMX’s came from all over to enjoy Liverpool's first official indoor skatepark. Such was the intense popularity of the facility, Rampworx Leckwith Road (a 55,000 sqft unit) was opened in July 1999.

Four years later and Rampworx obtained charitable status in April 2003 – which allowed Rampworx to change direction and offer a range of other activities and projects to benefit young people including health eating, drug and alcohol awareness, sexual health and other personal development programs. In addition, Rampworx offers coaching clinics and regular coaching schemes, portable ramps (for communities and skateparks throughout the North West), photography, graffiti and video arts projects. We have also worked with key partners, such as PCT, fire, police, CALM and youth service to deliver a range of projects around health, crime and personal development.

As the project grew in national and international popularity, Rampworx began to stock its own selection of apparel and hardware (launched in 2007) and has seen us create T-shirts, hoodies, shoes, key rings, stickers, hats, frames and wheels. This allowed us to raise crucial revenue to pay for the rental, running and on costs of the skatepark (currently at £4500 per week). The growth in sales tied in with a surge in interest in the sports that we catered for right across Merseyside; especially with the growth of scooters over the last three years.

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"In partnership with Wirral Special Initiatives Team, North West Crime Prevention Panel and Wirral Borough Council we are working to build a 70,000sqft purpose built facility on an area of land in Bidston close to the Tennis Centre and Tesco superstore."

Rather than pay for Wirral office accommodation as all of the management team are Wirral based we decided to open an shop come office. It seemed like financial sense and a natural progression to open up a retail outlet, which we did in Hoylake back in September 2011. Such was its success, we opened our Wallasey shop in July 2012.

Rampworx has major plans for developing a skatepark on the Wirral. In partnership with Wirral Special Initiatives Team, North West Crime Prevention Panel and Wirral Borough Council we are working to build a 70,000sqft purpose built facility on an area of land in Bidston close to the Tennis Centre and Tesco superstore. We have just applied for planning permission and hope to have something built within the next 3-5 years.

In the meantime, whilst we wait to develop the new super centre, we are in the process of developing a new satellite project based on the Wirral. It will attempt to duplicate the successful Rampworx model that currently exists in Sefton, but on a much smaller scale. This is to meet the growing demand for the sports that we cater for (BMX, Inline Skates, Skateboard and Scootering) and the lack of provision that exists within the Wirral area (just 4 small outdoor parks across the borough).

The project anticipates working with 4-500 young people per week through the sports that it caters for with an additional 400 people accessing the various coaching sessions, workshops, training, vocational and educational projects that we will run. It will be a community hub, with members of the local community being able to volunteer, work and form groups that will be able to host meetings here and there will be opportunities for training and development with courses being offered by Wirral Vocational College and Wirral Met.

This project will change the lives of 1000 disadvantaged service users a year  through a range of positive activities, workshops and projects, so that people can make informed choices about their lifestyle and future. It certainly is exciting times for our humble project, which started out 16 years ago!


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