Skate park facilities increase throughout the UK in 2019

2019 has been a great year for skateboarding facilities in the UK. In the lead up to skateboarding inclusion in the Olympics for the first time in 2020, there are already signs in participation growth, which is helping fuel an increase in the number of skate park projects being generated throughout the country.

In the last year Skateboard England has assisted with over 30 public skatepark projects, which included: Coventry, Romford, Basingstoke, Aldborough, Leicester, St Just, St Albans, Hackney, Horsham, Hove, North Devon, Leeds, Chester, Sheffield, Glastonbury, Woolacoombe, St Austell and Wymondham.

Assistance has been provided through guidance on planning, sourcing funding and application, skatepark strategy timelines, health & safety guidance and help with the layout of skateparks.

Much of the advice was given by Ricardo Magee, a Skate Park Development Officer in Brighton and a founding director at Skateboard England (who recently signed off after 4 years helping multiple park projects) said “Ensuring a strong plan and having the community behind you can be key for ensuring the success of getting a skate park project off the ground”. “There are so many examples of wasted money spent on skate parks which have been poorly designed, so with every project we try to guide people to get the best possible facilities for their area’.

Ricardo has personally kickstarted the renovation of Hove Lagoon skatepark. “We want this to be a community space as well as a place to learn and challenge skateboarders. With the backing of the council, community and Norman Cook this is going to be a destination facility which I hope all new skateparks can become with our support”.

A group in Coventry is campaigning to renovate and extend a tired and deteriorating prefab skatepark in War Memorial Park, into a state-of-the-art extreme sports facility, which has already received over 1,500 signatures in support of the project. Susie Cowley who help set up the group said “When you start a campaign to get a new skatepark it’s so hard to know where to start. It’s invaluable to talk to someone like Ricardo who has first-hand experience of working on a skatepark project and is genuinely interested in what you are doing”.

Rom Skatepark closed back in September and Matt Harris immediately formed a Community Interest Company and began looking at possible future funding streams to re-open the park. “I spoke with Ricardo from Skateboard England who, as an ex-Rom skater, was very enthusiastic about the project and the park and said he would support the park in any way he could” said Matt. Since then, there are already talks with Sport England to re-open the park in 2020 and improve the facilities.

In 2020 Skateboard England will be developing a guidance document around skateparks and skateable places, to help ensure that public funding is spent in the right way, so local authorities are informed to help make decisions about skateboarding their local areas. It will include practical criteria and guidance for the building and design of skateparks, outlines the procurement and consultation process that should be carried out, an approved framework of skatepark manufacturers who meet certain criteria, so that the right spaces are built in the right way and in the right materials and mapping to identify gaps and create justification for funding to build.

The future of UK skateboarding is looking positive, ensuring that skateparks and skateable areas are developed in a way which benefits the communities that use them.

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