Matty first met with Anna Kennedy OBE at the Autism Hero Awards in 2017 after winning the Autism Friendly category and after sharing visions, it was clear that Matty was the right role model as an Anna Kennedy Online Ambassador, sharing similar values and joining us to help raise Autism Awareness.
At Autism’s Got Talent 2018, it was officially announced, please read Matty’s inspirational story and journey:
My name is Matty Street and I am the 21 year old CEO of TeamKarting.co.uk We are the UK highest rated indoor karting track and a company with a very strong social heart beat! I have a huge passion for motorsport and have competed from the age of 12. Motorsport can be a very expensive sport where talented drivers don’t always make it to the top without enough financial backing and support. I’m from a working class family so at the age of 14 when I won a £30k scholarship to go racing this opened doors for me which I never thought were possible.
At the beginning of my school career I was diagnosed with dyslexia / dyspraxia and Asperger’s and I found school very difficult and at one point was considered a lost cause, I was very unsociable in my early teenage years and was predicted very poor grades and expected to achieve nothing. Being autistic I was told I would not be good at speaking in public or communicating with others, even though now I travel up and down the county speaking at Autism Events promoting good practice and inspiring young people, regularly speaking in front of 100s of people. There have been a number of things I was told that I won’t be able to do or should even try doing.
My love for motorsport helped me to deal with all these labels and negative expectations and achieve academic success and now success in business. When I first sat my GCSE’s I failed everything, this was just before I started my karting/racing career. Second time round with my new found passion and drive for racing I turned my grades around. My love for motorsport in school was noticed so teachers began to relate my work motorsport which helped understand and retain the information that was being offered.
This minor tweak in the way I was taught totally turned my life around. I managed to pass all my GCSE’s with 8 A*-C grades. I then went to college and completed a Level 3 Motorsport Engineering course. Much to everyone surprise I aced the course and went on to university where I studied Motorsport Management & Logistics. So from a potential school drop out to Degree student in 4 years!
During my time at college and university I continued to work with my passion. In 2015 I starting work at TeamKarting.co.uk as a part time track marshal. Within 10 months I worked my way up to Duty Manager and was promoted to the Executive Manager at the age of 19 and over saw the running of the full company and had 20 staff working under me.
In 2016 I had the ambition of setting up my own business within the motor sport industry to help increases grass roots participation in motorsport and make it more inclusive for people with autism and other additional needs. With the old owners of TeamKarting struggling to make the business work, I set my sites on stepping in with fresh ideas and a passionate team of directors to help grow the business. In 2017 that came true when I raised enough investment to complete a management buyout of TeamKarting to make myself the CEO of the company I love and worked within for the past 3 years, at the young age of just 21!
The reason I am telling you all of this is because during my time at TeamKarting iv worked very hard to create opportunities for people, to try and give people similar opportunities to what I had which help turn my life around. I have a strong desire to help children with disabilities and other social projects including most recently girls In Motorsport, a project which was backed by the royal family, and lead me to meet Prince Harry back in 2016. We also hosted a Racing With Autism Day and invited 40-50 school students to the track to learn how to kart free of charge for a full day and meet an autistic karting world champion. From this we were able to put like minded people together and helped build new friendships. We also support one of Rochdale most talented young racers Sandro: Click here for details.
I strongly believe that we have a responsibility to reinvest back into the grass roots of motorsport and make it more inclusive and open to all irrespective of physical, mental, academic and cultural background. That is why we offer a number of bespoke session to meet a number of needs. I have made it TeamKarting’s mission to increase participation in grassroots motorsports by innovating low cost solutions to make motor sport more affordable and accessible.
With this tweak in TeamKarting business Plan in a very short space of time we have become the UK’s highest rated karting track (as rated on Facebook, Google & Trip Advisor) We also won an award for being Autism Friendly and were presented with this achievement at the Autism Hero Awards 2017, which is how I first met Anna Kennedy and the team at Anna Kennedy Online.
From speaking to her and the team discussing me, my background and what we are trying to achieve at TeamKarting.co.uk, Anna asked me to come on board as an Ambassador to help raise autism awareness. We are also planning to host a number of event at our track in Greater Manchester along with the charity with the aim at getting more people into motorsport who ordinarily wouldn’t be given the opportunity.
We’ve had great success in what we’ve done so far and we have huge plans for the future, I am really excited to be joining AKO team as an ambassador and cant wait to get stuck in.