Worker co-op buyout secures future of Yorkshire skate park

Co-director Cath Muller says the team was able to meet a tight deadline for the sale thanks to a supportive co-op network to act as backup

A skate park in Doncaster, south Yorkshire, has been bought out as a worker co-op after a crowdfunder appeal.

Twisted Skate Park is now owned by Doncaster Skate Co-op. Its directors include co-operators Cath Muller and Emma Plant. Plant is a keen skater, along with her brother and partner, who have also joined the team as directors.

Muller told Co-op News: “There was the chance to buy out the shareholders of Twisted Skate Park … we decided to crowdfund some urgent finance because it was a short-term opportunity.”

There was a very tight deadline to buy the site and Doncaster Skate Co-op had no bank account ready so the money from the crowdfunder was handled by A Commune In The North, a co-op project already under development by a group including Muller, Plant and fellow co-operator Warren Draper. This is based at Bentley Urban Farm, an award-winning ‘upcycled market garden’ near Doncaster run by Permafutures Agroecology – another worker co-op venture where the three are directors. It uses reclaimed materials to grow healthy food and “encourage community-led change and collaborative regeneration”.

“This is a thing that couldn’t have happened without that infrastructure and support network,” said Muller, noting the unusually fast turnaround of the project.

“The skate park has been running for two to three years now,” she said, “and it’s good to know that it will now be run by skaters – previously it was a money-making enterprise by someone who doesn’t know the skate community.” 

The worker co-op took ownership on 1 March and is planning to host events, and is continuing with plans to hold a festival that had already been booked. It will be offering holiday clubs, with council funding for school meals, and is carrying out a major redecoration, including the re-opening of a cafe at the site to provide vegan food and an inclusive social and meeting space.

The indoor site also offers sublet facilities – a boxing gym and hair salon – alongside facilities for skateboards, inline skates, rollerskates, scooters and BMXs.

  • This article was amended on 23 March; it had listed Warren Draper as a director of the skate park co-op, which is not the case.