Zoo Skatepark Collaboration


BrightSparks is proud to announce that it is teaming up with local social entrepreneur Vinnie Whitehead, to take over the management and running of the Zoo Skatepark which is located on Foss Island in York. 

Vinnie is a serious rollerblader and has been for over 15 years. He has skated in parks throughout the UK and Europe and spends most of his free time on the ramps at Zoo Skatepark, which was a local authority owned skatepark. 

City of York Council has been facing huge financial pressures over the last decade, which has resulted in the closure of most youth provision throughout the city. It was looking like the fate of the Zoo Skatepark was likely to follow suit until Vinnie stepped up and said he would like the opportunity to take on the management of the Skatepark to save it from closure. 

It was at this point that Vinnie got in touch with BrightSparks. We immediately saw both the opportunity for the Skatepark as a social enterprise project, as well as a key local service for young people. We began providing business mentoring to Vinnie who is relatively new to business, but has a passion for skate sports and supporting local young people. We quickly found that our understanding of business start up and development and Vinnie's knowledge around skate sports was a perfect fit and decided to go into business together as Skatepark owners and social entrepreneurs. 

Vinnie said: "I feel so grateful to have been given this amazing opportunity. I'm looking forward to working with Andy and the BrightSparks team and can't wait to see what the future brings".

BrightSparks Managing Director Andy Simpson said "When we heard what Vinnie was planning and what potentially could have happened to Zoo if he hadn't stepped in, I knew straight away that we were going to provide whatever help we could to turn this site into a successful social enterprise that benefits young people from all over York." 

We officially signed a management agreement with City of York Council on 5th February 2018 and we are preparing the site for a new launch in April.

Keep an eye out for more updates on the Zoo Skatepark Website and Facebook page.