Its been almost 4 years since 15 April 2008, when KO2 was incorporated as a Community Interest Company (CIC) to help support the work of AVIF. Mentored by a host of professionals from a wide variety of specialist fields, and schooled at the Yorkshire & Humber School of Social Entrepreneurs 2010/11, I still have my heart set on using bikes to inspire young people. One of my mentors was the Youth Officer responsible for Crucial Crew, which used to operate on the site at Defence Estates Forest Moor, Nidderdale, before it was sold; the perfect home for a social venture to re-engage young people.
As a biker and safety marshal as well as a lone parent, I have a deep understanding of the excitement, risk and fascination motorsport holds, and its power to do good. In 2009 I was part of a 7-man (including 1 woman – me) team that raced around the whole of France One Way Round to raise money for St Johns Ambulance.
At the absolute extreme; the TT Roadraces, is a powerful force to effect change and has been promoting green electric battery-power; the future of motorsports since the inaugural TTXGP in 2009. Combining this with a nurturing, IT-based, behavioural-monitoring, life-skills-building model will be an inspiring formula for success.
NYCC acquired the Forest Moor site for a new specialist school, relocating the successful Baliol School, Sedburgh, to provide facilities closer to Harrogate for young people with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties; kids who suffer from complex problems primarily due to chaotic home lives, kids who’ve never been given structure, emotional support, whose families may have been torn apart due to substance or alcohol abuse, or worse. The new school, Foremost, has been highly supportive of the collaboration for over a year now, offering a field for the dirt track and premises for operations.
KO2’s activities are divided between accredited life skills programmes, via the National Childrens Bureau, and time spent with the exciting electric zero-emission dirtbikes. With no noise, petrol, gears or fuss, these bikes, though powerful, are easy to learn to control with discipline, focus and practice.
Among the research gone into setting up this CIC, are studies by the University of Nottingham’s, Daniel Nettle, on Evolutionary Biology about the understanding of the psychology behind anti-social behaviour. The Unit for Child Studies at York St John University carries out multiple studies about risk and young people and all this, and more, have been incorporated into the educational and development components that KO2 use to bring the “lost generation” back on track.
Risk, however, is not looked at so holistically, in the authoritarian world, which has already excluded ‘this generation’. Steps must always be taken to eliminate as much risk as possible but KO2 is driving change to use risk as a learning tool. To push people to balance risk with common sense, with understanding and compassion, to shoulder the responsibility of risk and to be aware of the risks to others.
To be aware of how your actions affect other people’s lives is crucial to a healthy community, a healthy society and a healthy future society.
But we’re being blocked!

Negotiations went “legal” back in November 2011 for KO2, with a lease being prepared by NYCC, for premises within the school grounds, while investors drew down start-up funding, while staff were recruited and while preparations were made for operations. In March 2012, after extensive delays by refurbishment contractors, the main school opened its partly-functioning doors. On March 13 the fleet of Zero MX & X bikes arrived from Europe and KO2 became real.
And then stopped.
On 29 March, 2012, NYCC Childrens & Young Peoples Service wrote a letter stating that they were “.. unable to sign any lease” due to risk.
  • On Sport Relief Friday 23 March, KO2 had a “Slalom Mile” prepared for the boys at the main school, to raise funds for UK child-carers; young people like themselves who care for sick/injured family members at home. The event was cancelled due to risk by NYCC Childrens & Young Peoples Service.
  • 4 weeks ago, NYCC cancelled a collaborative weekend event where the Army Foundation College, Harrogate were bringing an entire platoon on site to help build the dirt track. The platoon were all going through Duke of Edinburgh Awards and needed to do 15 hours of voluntary work to help the community. NYCC said No, due to risk.

Luckily 25 Plt. Alamein Co. have been able to reschedule and KO2 are grateful for them coming to their rescue again April 14/15. Assuming NYCC don’t block the event due to risk?

We are trying to make sense of this negative response from the very council who would benefit from the significant cost reductions of more supportive activities for young people. KO2 have extensive risk assessments, extensive combined insurance, extensive experience and competence in all areas. “The government agrees with Professor Munro that the system has become too focused on compliance with rules and procedures and has lost its focus on the needs and experiences of children and young people.”
North Yorkshire Safeguarding Childrens Board, 2011


North Yorkshire’s Children and Young Peoples Plan 2008-2011 facts:


  • 411 Looked After Children as at March 2009
  • 2650 children ‘In Need’ as at March 2009
  • 265 children with Child Protection Plans as at March 2009
  • In the January 2009 School Census, 416 Primary School pupils (0.97%) and 576 Secondary School pupils (1.42%) had statements of special educational needs
  • 11,781 children with special educational needs (without a statement) recorded as School Action or School Action Plus
  • 1,315 criminal sentences passed upon young offenders in 2008/09, for 2,764 offences
  • 841 young offenders were diverted from Court by Police Reprimand or Final Warning
  • During 2008/09 there was a total of 776 first time entrants aged 10 to 17 to the youth justice system

8 months after the London Riots, something has to change! The government knows it – why isn’t North Yorkshire County Council (Risk) listening?