Raising Aspirations: New mini documentary highlights Hull car project improving social mobility

Outkast Panda Crew, a Community Interest Company which evolved from a modified car club in Hull, has featured in a new mini documentary. The 11-minute film, funded by The Matthew Good Foundation and produced by INIT Creative, highlights the power held by grassroots organisations to improve inner-city communities, by raising aspirations beyond a life of crime and anti-social behaviour for disadvantaged youths.

Councillor Gareth Byrne interview in the Outkast Panda Workshop

Outkast Panda Crew started life as an inner-city car club, founded by modified car enthusiast Jonny Cahill in 2017. Living in Hull City Centre, Jonny witnessed first-hand the effects of crime and anti-social behaviour in his community, alongside a decline in availability of youth services. When speaking to young people, he saw an opportunity for the car club to help them find a route to more positive engagement in their community.

Outkast Panda Crew: The Film is available to view now on YouTube. It explains how, since 2021, Jonny and a team of volunteers have been teaching Hull’s disadvantaged youths a wide range of automotive skills including electrics, welding, mechanics, body panelling and painting. In a behind-the-scenes look at the workshop, viewers witness students modifying cars for real-life motorsport events, with some getting the opportunity to be part of an event pit crew.

The documentary features an interview with Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Jonathan Evison. In the interview he comments: “Outkast Panda Crew is a breath of fresh air, it’s something completely different. It’s got practical, engineering input, it’s learning skills that will certainly be transferrable, but it’s also experiences. It’s raising aspirations. That means that things like anti-social behaviour, car theft, motorbike theft, crime within shops will reduce.”

Garreth Byrne is a Councillor for North Carr ward in East Hull, which includes parts of the Bransholme estate. In the film he comments: “It’s about trying to offer kids an opportunity to take the skills that they have, put them into something constructive, and take that forward and move it into a career or another path, and change the roundabout that we have on the estate at the moment. We need more of them, and we need them funded better.”

The film was funded by the Matthew Good Foundation, based in Hessle. An organisation specialising in grant funding, they recognised that Outkast Panda Crew would benefit from telling their inspirational story to a wider audience, so offered them support through their Amplify Charity Films programme.

Amplify Charity Films offers funding and support for small non-profits who are making a high impact in their communities, but lack the funds or expertise needed to invest in communications campaigns. Using their connections to local and national business networks, the Matthew Good Foundation creates opportunities for non-profits to access professional-quality communications services, helping them to amplify their voice.

The documentary was produced by INIT Creative, a Hull-based creative agency specialising in film and digital media production from a state-of-the art studio on Clough Road. INIT Creative is run by local brothers, Adam and Brendan Storch, whose knowledge of local issues was crucial to the creation of the powerful documentary.

Real-world experiences and connections with skilled mentors at the project have already inspired dozens of young people out of dissolution and onto real career paths, including apprenticeships in the motor industry.

Outkast Panda Crew Director, Jonny reflects: “All they’re being told throughout their young lives is, ‘you’re bad, you can’t do this, you’re only from Bransholme, you’re only from Orchard Park, you live in Hull mate, you ain’t going anywhere.’ The fact is they can do it, because we’ve already proved it.”

Having attracted grants initially from local funders including Humberside PCC Community Safety Fund, John Good Group’s Grants for Good, and the Matthew Good Foundation, plus support from local automotive suppliers, the team at Outkast Panda hope that the documentary will help them attract more of the long-term funding that will be vital to their ability to continue operating, and increase their impact in the local community.