“I didn’t know a skateboard from an ironing board”.
Mandy Young, a single mother from Corby, Northamptonshire, didn’t know much about extreme sports before she set up Adrenaline Alley, now recognised as the best skate park outside of the US.
A safe space to skate
Her goal was to help her son John. John was diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of nine. Seven years later, in 2002, John was brutally mugged – even though his attackers knew he was sick.
“I thought – I can’t do this anymore” Mandy said. She decided to help John and his friends by finding them somewhere they could go and skateboard in safety.
Mandy, John and friends set up temporary ramps in a corner of a car park belonging to motor racing track Rockingham Speedway. This outdoor skate park was extremely popular, but soon Rockingham Speedway needed their car park back.
Mandy knew if the skate park was to last, it needed to find a permanent home.
From chicken factory to skatepark
That home came in the shape of a 50,000 sq ft chicken packing factory on the outskirts of Corby.
A local developer donated this huge empty space – later followed by two other buildings. Although some might have struggled to see the potential, Mandy knew she could make it work. She persuaded her family and a team of volunteers to start work clearing and cleaning, and then she called in the professionals to begin turning the factory into the rippling sea of plywood it is today.
Adrenaline Alley was born and soon began to flourish, attracting professional riders and skateboarders, as well as offering a safe space for local kids.
In 2010 Mandy’s son John died in his sleep, aged only 24. Adrenaline Alley has become his legacy.
Now consisting of three massive buildings for skateboard, BMX, inline skating and scooters, plus a music studio, education space and photography studio, Adrenaline Alley is a social enterprise which has given jobs and hope to the local area, as well as encouraging activity and ambition among young people.
The site is a world-class venue where champions come to train, an astonishing achievement and a lasting tribute to John.
Watch the documentary Adrenaline Alley – triumph out of tragedy on itunes to hear the full story.
Adrenaline Alley joins Locality
Locality is proud to have Adrenaline Alley as a member.
Phil Tulba, Head of Trading at Locality – and Vice Chairman of Adrenaline Alley – said: “Adrenaline Alley proves that social enterprises can operate at the highest international level. This approach to business shows that you can be ambitious, competitive and the best.”
Is your organisation a community enterprise, helping bring jobs to your local area? If so, you belong as part of Locality. Find out how you can join today.