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Turning a pipe dream into reality

04 April 2019

The Co-operative Bank is proud to work in partnership with Co-operatives UK to continue to develop The Hive, a support programme for any group wanting to start a co-operative or for existing co-ops looking to strengthen or grow.

One such co-op, set up in 2004, is Projekts MCR. After transforming disused land under a busy flyover into space for Manchester’s skateboarding community, they received support from The Hive to expand this unique project. If successful, the park would be the largest managed skatepark in the UK.

Until Projekts MCR, the skateboarding community in Manchester had nowhere else to go. The vision of John Haines, Projekts MCR CEO, and others was to create a supportive and welcoming space for skateboarders, regardless of their background: "We set up as a co-operative because it seemed to be suitable for a group of people that all had a shared purpose.”

Thurston Monk, a coach for Projekts MCR, describes the skatepark as life changing. “When I came here I feel like it was a big change. It helped my anxiety by coming and speaking to people and making more friends. It gives me confidence that I didn’t have before I started doing this.”

The skatepark works with all parts of the community and, as well as being open to the public through the week, there are sessions for under 16s, adults, women-only nights, beginner classes, home-schooled children and more. 

Coaches also go out to schools to run lunch time and after-school clubs across Greater Manchester making Projekts MCR an essential part of the community, run by the community. As John Haines said, “We want people to be a part of what we’re doing!”

How did The Hive help?

Projekts MCR had a passion to expand and embed the concept within the community, but needed funds to proceed. They decided to launch a crowd funder with the support of The Hive. This support ensured that the share offer was awarded the community shares Standard Mark, to show that they met national standards of good practice. Crowdfunding using a community share offer meant that anyone who invested in the community share offer automatically became a member and had a say in the future of the skatepark. John Haines explains that The Hive commissioned a consultant, who worked closely with them, “to make sure that a share offer was as good as it possibly should be.”

With an initial target of £50,000, Projekts MCR in fact raised over £132,000 before their share offer closed in December 2018. With this funding boost they can expand the spectator and café spaces and also allow the skatepark to build more ramps.

If you are part of a local community group interested in knowing more about The Hive you can find out more here 

Read more case studies from The Hive

The Hive and Bristol Wood Recycling Project

The Hive and Leeds Bread Co-op

The Hive and SPSC

The Hive and the SELCE Co-operative

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