Leeds skatepark plans eco school

Youngsters at The Works Skatepark which wants to create an eco school.

Youngsters at The Works Skatepark which wants to create an eco school.

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A city skatepark wants to create an eco school out of metal shipping containers to help youngsters struggling with mainstream education.

The Works Skatepark charity in Hunslet already runs off-site provision for both 11 to 16 year olds and those over 16, welcoming more than 100 young people since it opened in April 2015.

Its chief executive Elliott Turnbull founded the charity in 2008 but its work took on a new direction after his daughter, Pip, was stillborn in 2012.

“For someone who never took a breath she made a massive impact. She was my catalyst for all of it,” said Mr Turnbull, who has since become a dad to two daughters.

The eco school, which needs planning permission, would provide 60 places for 14 to 16 year olds to carry on their education and 75 places for 16 to 19 year-olds offering training for apprenticeships. With help from Yorkshire businesses the charity is creating an environment consisting of 22 recycled shipping containers, green roofs made of grass and soil to regulate heat, solar panels to create a sustainable energy source, water recycle system and air source heat pumps.

Building on the strong partnership with Rodillian Multi Academy Trust and Aspire-Igen, The Works Skatepark charity sees the eco school as somewhere to change the outcome of education for young people disengaged with the mainstream system.

Mr Turnbull said: “The idea is that the kids who come here leave with jobs and the skills and relationships to do those jobs. Our goal is to have the eco school built by the city, for the city. We will be going through the tendering process but we will require companies to be local and insist that those who gain the tender will be working with our young people, assisting their development through work placements, with opportunity for the companies to identify and mentor potential future apprentices.”

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