Member Showcase: The Blair Project

Our Member Showcase blog highlights some of the most new and innovative Sport for Development projects from Sported members across the UK. To kick things off, Marilyn Comrie tell us how The Blair Project is working to increase participation in grassroots motorsports.

The Blair Project exists to create ground-breaking motorsport projects that can enthuse and inspire young people as young as 8 to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and digital industries –and have FUN !  We are leveraging the power of motorsport to turbo charge vocational skills development linked to the needs of the local labour market,  in order to tackle skills shortages and reduce youth unemployment.

 

Our creative learning approach seeks to equip young people with the tools to thrive, building their resourcefulness and resilience, team working , interpersonal and creative problem solving skills.

 

Our long-term goal is to make motorsport more affordable, accessible and inclusive, and open up pathways to rewarding careers, especially for disadvantaged young people who find the cost barriers prohibitive.

 

In order to achieve our mission we knew had to reinvent the rules of the game, and not simply follow the status quo. So we set about finding like-minded partner organisations and individuals, who wanted to achieve the same things.

 

Everything we do is powered by a passion for people. The secret of our success is innovation and collaboration, drawing on the strengths and expertise of our growing network of partners to develop ground-breaking projects which have the potential to transform the lives of individuals, build greater social cohesion and contribute to regenerating the local economy.

The Blair Project

 

These partners include Wigan Council, Wigan & Leigh College, Greater Manchester Chambers of Commerce, Fix It UK, BPA Autocentre, Ultimaker, Create Education, Fab Lab Manchester and Student Motorsport to name a few. Business planning, social media, and marketing have been critical to building our brand profile and fan base, and inspiring the confidence of supporters, partners and funders alike.

 

We have recently secured grant funding to pilot our ProtoGP Schools Kart Challenge, with children who have special educational needs or disabilities or who have been excluded from school. They will become the first young people in the UK to computer design, and 3D print their own race karts, and then test and race them at Three Sisters Racing Circuit in Wigan which is council owned. The funding includes the development of an accredited ProtoGP curriculum linked to the National Curriculum. This will allow us to give a recognised qualification to each participant. The plan is to roll out ProtoGP into more Wigan Schools in September of this year.

 

We have also just formed a student race team with Wigan & Leigh College and local garage BPA Autocentre to teach young people as young as 14, about teamwork, logistics, engineering and component manufacturing.  With an army of volunteer mechanics and engineers, we are transforming 3 road cars into lean mean racing machines to compete in the MSVT Championships racing at prestigious circuits like Silverstone and Brands Hatch. We are producing video diaries on our YouTube channel to chart the transformation of the #RoadCarsToRaceCars, which will be informative and educational.

 

We’ll be up against richer teams from the South of England. But what we lack in money, we’ll be making up for in true grit, passion, and the will to win! Anyone can get involved – video makers, fundraisers, mechanics, engineers or logistics experts.

 

The Blair Project is an organisation founded by youth for youth. It was important to us from the beginning to engage young people in running the business and innovating solutions to solve some of society’s biggest problems. Their vision is the redevelopment of the Three Sisters Racing Circuit in Wigan as the UK’s first track dedicated to the racing of electric cars and prototypes. The circuit would also house a new digital manufacturing and design academy, showcasing low carbon and green technologies. We would love to televise weekly home grown race meetings, and grow it as a visitor attraction.  We like to dream big!”

 

Twitter: @getmemotoring

Facebook: theblairproject

Website: theblairproject.org

YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheBlairProject1