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Champion rally driver Chris Ingram visits young people of Wigan

1st October 2018 by Onside Youth Zones

Wigan Youth Zone welcomed European Rally Champion Chris Ingram on Wednesday who delivered a rousing talk to young members in the hope of inspiring the next generation of rally car drivers.

Manchester-born Ingram, 24, who became the first Brit to win a European rally title in 49 years in 2017, spoke to an audience of around 80 young people about their aspirations, working hard and overcoming challenges to achieve their potential.

The young people from Wigan, joined by members from Wolverhampton, Wirral, Warrington, Bolton, Chorley and Oldham Youth Zones, were then given the chance to interview Chris before testing out their own rally skills on driving-simulation console games.

Last year Ingram took home the coveted title of European Rally Champion Under 27’s and has ambitions to become World Rally Champion.

Inspired by his father, Jon Ingram, who was a successful rally driver during the 1980’s and 2000’s, Chris began rallying aged 15 and hopes to inspire youngsters at Wigan Youth Zone to pursue their passions.

Chris Ingram said: “It has been an extremely rocky road to get to my current position in my career as a rally driver, but with dedication to the sport I have now managed to make my passion into my full-time job.

“Motorsport is very expensive and there are probably less than one hundred people in the world who make a living from rally driving. With very few contacts for potential sponsorships, no financial support from the UK federation and no family backing, the odds were very much against me.

“I believe anyone can achieve their dreams if they want it enough and I was delighted to pass on my experience to young people across the OnSide Youth Zone network who I hope will take inspiration from my visit to grow into successful adults.”

Sponsored by online brokerCarFinance247, Chris Ingram visited the Youth Zone shortly after it celebrated its fifth anniversary.

Anthony Ashworth-Steen, Executive Director at Wigan Youth Zone, said: “We are extremely grateful that Chris was able to attend, especially considering his busy schedule.

“Our goal is to provide a safe place for young people to receive support and encouragement to reach their full potential, and Chris gave some great, inspirational advice to our members about how they can achieve their dreams through sheer determination and hard work.”

Part of national charity OnSide Youth Zones, Wigan Youth Zone opened its doors in 2013 and provides local young people with a safe, fun and innovative place to spend their leisure time.

By providing a wide range of universally accessible activities and services, it has delivered a cost benefit to the local authority of £6.65 for each £1 invested, based on employability and anti-social behaviour alone.

The state-of-the-art facility, hailed as a major success by many in the local area, has seen over 21,000 young Wiganers become members, who have made nearly 380,000 visits since 2013.

Major achievements include a 77% reduction in rates of anti-social behaviour in the surrounding area and 400young people progressing in to employment, education or training following participation in the ‘Get a Job’ employability scheme.

The facility costs £1.7million per annum to run and it hopes to reach its target of an additional £200,000 of funding from philanthropists, businesses and donations this financial year to ensure it supports as many young people as possible.

Chris Ingram inspires the next generation of rally car drivers!