Factory will be home to ‘Rolls-Royce’ of karting

Factory will be home to ‘Rolls-Royce’ of karting
Glasgow Evening Times, By Gordon Thomson

SCOTLAND’S first indoor electric go-karting track is being launched in a former Rolls-Royce factory which produced Spitfire engines during the Second World War.

Charity chiefs are to throw a jobs lifeline to disadvantaged teenagers and young adults by breathing new life into the old aero engine manufacturing site at Hillington, near Glasgow.

Paisley-based Kibble – one of the country’s oldest charities and now a social enterprise – says ‘The Experience’ will be a major new leisure facility when it opens later this year.

It will create 50 jobs and provide another 50 work experience placements for 16-24-year-olds each year.

The charity hopes it will become a top venue for family outings and corporate events but is pledging to dedicate 20 hours each week to "Karting with a Conscience" a social inclusion programme for disadvantaged teenagers and young adults.

And Glasgow Airport bosses have guaranteed the project a flying start by donating four tandem karts, costing almost £40,000, with the cash coming from the Glasgow Airport FlightPath Fund.

Kibble chief executive Graham Bell said: "Our Karting with a Conscience programme offers social inclusion to children and adults with additional support needs and learning difficulties who would otherwise be unable to experience the thrill of go-karting.

"The sessions will be a really memorable experience and our staff will ensure the highest standards of safety at all times.

"The tandem go-karts are a very specialist piece of equipment and Glasgow Airport has done the communities around it a great service by supporting their purchase."

FlightPath chairman Archie Hunter commented: "The funding application we received from Kibble really stood out.

"We were impressed by the ambition shown in constructing The Experience, from what was effectively an empty shell, and the determination to make it an inclusive facility that can be enjoyed by all and will prove to be sustainable in the long term."

Details of the go-karting centre come just five months after the owners of the Hillington Park industrial estate stumped up almost £3million to purchase the old Rolls-Royce factory as part of an ambitious 10-year masterplan to redevelop the entire 419-acre Hillington Park site at a cost of £50m.

The factory had lain empty since the firm switched engine production in 2005 to a factory at Inchinnan, in the shadow of Glasgow Airport.