Police have praised a Huddersfield motorcycle project which helps keep young people on the right road – and on the right side of the law.

Team KickStart, based in Sheepridge, launched last April with the aim of tackling nuisance and illegal off-road riding in the local community.

Huddersfield Neighbourhood Policing Team have backed the project, which recently became a charity and now teaches around 100 teens who have an interest in bikes.

The project teaches them to ride safely and legally and also develop their skills and potentially careers in servicing bikes and mechanical engineering.

Run by locals Joy Edwards and Junior Montano, Team KickStart began on April 18 2021 and has now become a fully-fledged charity. 

It provides a safe regular space at Northfield Hall for riders to gather and learn safe riding skills from qualified professionals, moving towards getting a CBT riding qualification.

Upcoming events in March include sessions in which young people can learn to strip down and build an engine.

Joy said: “Junior was the founder of Team KickStart and the hard work he puts in on a daily basis and his passion for the community is outstanding. He really deserves so much credit for the way we’ve grown over the last 12 months.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the reaction we’ve had from local residents and the teenagers who have joined us since we started and are attending the sessions. They are really enjoying themselves safely and getting the opportunity to learn.

She added: “I also want to give a huge shout out to our volunteers and the friends we’ve made on our journey, as well as the local partnerships who have supported us.

“Looking forwards we are in talks to find a new plot of land we can utilise for activities and are reaching out to more schools. We have lots of events planned including an anti-knife crime event on April 30 at the Piazza in Huddersfield and are starting the procession for the Deighton Carnival on June 25. Full details of everything upcoming can be found on our Facebook page.”

Graham Dyson, Huddersfield NPT inspector, said: “Having attended the first event in April last year I was extremely impressed with how Joy and Junior brought the community together and then continued to push forward with their vision of removing off road bikes from the streets and providing young people with skills that they can develop and use in future careers.

“This is the real essence of a community where people like Joy and Junior make that initial difference and are determined to make their community safe and feel safer for everyone.

“I am so grateful for their community work and I know that we have a fantastic partnership where we can help young people, divert them away from crime, gangs and violence and bring them together to develop their own skills.”

The Inspector said the NPT also supported the charity’s focus on reducing violence and knife carrying amongst young people which they were supporting with their motto ‘Knives Down – Bikes Out’ and ‘No Ends Just Friends.’

“The support Team KickStart have provided in using their influence with young people to organise anti-knife events including an event in St George’s Square, has been fantastic,” he said. “Community support is absolutely vital in helping the police and partners change attitudes when it comes to knife carrying.”

Clr James Holmewood (Ashbrow) added: “Team Kickstart have been a breath of fresh air since they have started working in the Ashbrow ward.

“They’ve worked constructively to engage young people on the dangers of riding motorbikes illegally and the disruption it causes to residents.

“At the same time they are looking at creative ways to provide a bike track for young people to use and supporting vulnerable young people into training and employment. They have made a massive difference in such a short space to time and I’m excited to see what they do next.”

For more information on Team Kickstart, search for them on Facebook.