About Us

Ad Astra is a Community Interest Company formed in 2013. Our aim is to provide quality provision locally. Our mission is to raise aspirations and broaden the outlook of young people in the Barnsley area by providing a wide range of activities and support to young people through a wide range of activities and events including:

·      youth clubs

·      after school sessions

·      educational visits

·      short stay residentials

·      outdoor activities

This has all been made possible by funding sourced both locally and nationally by our  dedicated team who have many years’ experience in youth and community work, delivering many projects around the Yorkshire area.

Aims and Objectives

Rachael Sharpe

Rachael Sharpe

Originally a dancer and fitness instructor, Rachael has for the last twelve years used her many talents working with children, young people and vulnerable adults for BMBC, NSPCC, Barnsley YMCA and as co-founder of Ad Astra. Her enthusiastic and stylish approach transmits to the young people though it is sometimes frowned on by the grown ups (Michelle).  She is loyal and supportive when young people need it. Her interests cover the full range of arts and crafts and some of her wackier ideas magically transform into pure artistic gold (really?). Choreographer, song and dance director, furniture distresser extraordinaire, that’s why Rachael is Ad Astra’s Creative Director.

Michelle Cooper

Michelle Cooper

Michelle has for the last thirty years worked with and for young people and vulnerable adults in Barnsley and still claims to be the right side of 40. She has worked for Barnsley Youth Services, the NSPCC, Barnsley YMCA, Ad Astra and other agencies. Appearances can be deceptive and Michelles gentle exterior hide a steely determination to do the best for the young people of Barnsley. Her encyclopedic knowledge of the people and services available for young people in the borough give her the ability to be a powerful advocate for them. Her generosity is legendary and frequently needs reining in by her fellow directors. As a forceful orator she is an ideal front person and lead for many of Ad Astra’s projects.

Mark Smales

Mark Smales

Mark spent 30 years in construction management before deciding it was time to get a proper job working with children and young people.  He has spent the last 7 years working for NSPCC, Barnsley YMCA and now Ad Astra Barnsley. Mark is a keen sportsman, makes things out of pallets and is knowledgeable about the arts and the environment. However any art he does looks a mess. His spare time is spent running in rivers and rolling about on muddy rugby fields as a life member of Wath upon Dearne RUFC.

A mathematician, wordsmith and a sports coach he is co-founder and Finance director of Ad Astra where his legendary stinginess is an asset.