Spotlight: John Haines ‘The Skatepark Entrepreneur’

One of the privileges of being involved with Ministry2Business is getting to meet a lot of people doing terrific work in different sectors and workplaces.
One of the challenges I’m aware of  is it’s very easy to feel isolated especially when it comes to living out our Christian faith at work. 
So, quite simply I hope these Spotlight interviews inspire and encourage us to see we’re not alone and we’re part of bigger story that God is telling. 


Introducing:  John Haines – Managing Director Projekts Mcr 

1. Tell us a little bit about your business story – how and why you got involved with Projekts Mcr?
I discovered skateboarding around the same time that I really started to take my Christian faith seriously, just before I started university in 1999. Shortly after graduating, I was invited to work with a start up social enterprise called Projekts Mcr, which was a group of Christians who were aiming to make things better for skateboarders in Manchester. Initially I thought it would make a great year out between uni and work but once I began to see how little development was going into skateboarding at a grassroots level and how very few Christians were involved in skateboarding on a development level, I just decided to carry on. I enjoyed seeing the change and the impact of the work we were doing – it’s quite addictive.

2. What have been some of the significant encouragements in your work?
Seeing skaters in the skatepark enjoying the ramps is a big encouragement. It means we’ve created something that the skate community really wants. But the biggest encouragement is hearing the stories from users about how we’ve helped them get through some very difficult times. It’s easy to think of the skatepark as just another space to play or just another activity centre, but it’s not really like that for most people who come here. For many skaters, it’s the centre of their community, where they feel supported and safe.

3. You’ve recently launched a Community Share Offer to help fund the expansion of the park – what’s your vision for the park and what support are you looking for?
We’ve launched a community share offer to raise the funds to expand because we’ve reached capacity and we want to keep on growing. The land under the flyover has very little commercial value but it’s ideal for skateboarders because it’s covered by the Mancunian Way and stays dry in almost all weather. The idea behind the expansion is to build 700sqm of concrete ramps, making us the largest managed concrete skatepark in the country.

If you’re interested in supporting the expansion plans you can visit:
www.crowdfunder.co.uk/projekts-mcr 
You can also download the proposal: Share offer – Projekts for Community Mark Assessment V2

4. Your Christian faith is an integral part of your life – how does it impact and shape your work?
I want what I believe to impact every area of my life, including work and I hope that my behaviour and what I say might point people to God and at the very least not be a barrier to someone wanting to know God. Jesus’ life and teaching is all about relationships – with God and with other people – and I would hope that in any interaction with people in work or through work, I might reflect God’s attitude.

5. What has been a key lesson you’ve learned especially as a young business leader?
It’s the painful lessons you remember the most, isn’t it? It’s not always easy but I think employing the right people – people with the right attitude, primarily – is a big one for me, especially with the kind of work we do, working with young people and building community. It’s obviously easier said than done but it really pays to take extra care when taking someone on. 
Thankfully, we have an incredible team at Projekts – very supportive, keen to make a difference, hard working, caring, patient and excited to be part of a growing organisation.
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You can connect with John on LinkedIn 

Image Credits:

Skate Park pictures provided by Projekts Mcr
Light Bulb Photo by Luis Tosta on Unsplash

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