|SPARKPLUG started out in 2002 when Martin Willis was working at Crumbles Castle Adventure Playground in Islington. Around that time the problem of stolen scooters in nearby Bingfield Park had become so bad that something had to be done. The Police were doing their best but an alternative had to be found.
In 2002 with the aid of the summer splash money Martin formed SPARKPLUG and purchase five motor bikes and enough safety riding equipment to dress fifteen young people.
His project was immediately successful, so much so that scooters crime dropped dramatically. The kids realized that riding a scrambler motorbike around a motorcross track was a much better alternative.
The riding proved to be very popular but it was only a very quick fix and over too soon. What was needed with something with more purpose, so Martin embarked on launching some courses in mechanics to try to further engage the local kids.
After a few attempts at delivering various courses, he realized that he needed something that was "accredited."
That chance came when SPARKPLUG was offered the opportunity to deliver mechanics courses through PAYP, for Islington’s Young Peoples Services/ Connextions.
It was this initial course that was adapted to SPARKPLUG's local needs and through a referral system, and Connextions key workers, SPARKPLUG was able to reach beyond Islington into lots of different communities to engage young people deemed ‘at risk’.
The courses have been very successful, at present over one hundred young people have gained their accreditations and certificates over the last six years.