Building a skatepark, building confidence, building a community

There was quite an exciting Open Meeting recently at Clevedon Council House, called by the Trustees of the Clevedon Skate Project, notably Petra Mansour – Moffatt, Paul Redford, Tom Knott, Neil James and Paula Heath. I say exciting because they painted such a clear picture of their plans for an inter-generational, multi-use area on the site of the town’s current, old and outdated skatepark by the Salthouse Field.

47384472_418187805383465_3347985049420038144_nThe cost of renovating the skate park is likely to be in the region of £100,000-150,000 while the proposed new pump track will be between £80,000-150,000 – yes you could probably do it cheaper but the Clevedon Skate Project team who are inspirational and aspirational, want the best for our children and young people and they want something that will last for generations to come.

The Clevedon Skate Project team described themselves as ‘newbies’ but I have to say what they have achieved already is very impressive. In a relatively short space of time, they have confirmed charity status and have put on a number of events to publicise their proposition.

The first of these was the collaboration with the Curzon Cinema and Arts to present the new film Skate Kitchen and an exhibition followed by a question and answer session with skateboarder and documentary photographer Charlotte Thomas (Concrete Girls) and board designer and illustrator Ash Baigent (Ash Skates). Just prior to the showing of the main film, there was a short documentary that you can watch here:  It was created by boomstasuma and told  the story of what the team hope to achieve. Learn more about boomstasma here: The team have also involved a significant number of community groups in discussions and had a series of developmental meetings where they have made remarkable progress.

Their initial idea was to redevelop the current skatepark which is over fifteen years old and reaching the end of its life.

However, when they looked more closely at the area, they realised that there was also room for a competition standard pump track on the grassy area that was in between the skate park, the MUGA (multi-use games area) and the tennis courts.

Slide10A pump track is primarily designed for bikes to be ridden around through the use of a pumping movement. They consist of curves, bends and bumps and are becoming increasingly popular around the world. There are now even pump track world championships!  In addition to mountain bikes and BMX’s, pump tracks can also be used by scooters and skateboarders. There is no question that a pump track has a wider appeal and would engage a larger demographic in Clevedon.

Slide17What made the meeting exciting was the fact that North Somerset Council and Clevedon Town Council have given their permission for the charity to progress their plans and its all systems go!

As it is now, the seafront has so much to offer – the newly renovated Marine Lake is used by so many different community groups: the Clevedon Canoe Club, the Clevedon Sailing Club, the Royal Life Saving Society, the Clevedon Model Boat Club, the Clevedon Pilot Gig Club and the stand-up paddle boarders are all regulars down there. Rowing is becoming a real growth area and although, the Gig Club can’t use their big gigs they have smaller ones they put on the water. There is the Clevedon Lake and Sea Swimmers Facebook Group, the Clevedon Amateur Swimming Club and the Portishead and Clevedon Triathlon Club – it’s also very popular with open water swimmers because it’s a safe place to train; they’re not going to get swept away!  Lots of schools use it too – St Nicholas Chantry do a basic proficiency level paddle and sailing course every year and Taunton School’s long-distance swimming club practise on the lake. And of course it’s popular with local schools in the summer term when they have Activity Days and Activity Weeks.

Individuals running, running clubs and keep fit groups are a regular feature on the seafront. There is also a fabulous, fully refurbished multi – use games area (MUGA) free to use for basketball and football and free to use resurfaced tennis courts with expert coaching available. There is a bowling club, a children’s play area with a sand – pit, swings, slides, roundabouts, see-saws and climbing frames and of course the lovely green space which is the Salthouse Field with its bouncy castle and slide, the miniature railway and the donkeys; it’s also great for great for picnics and impromptu sports.

It really is quite unusual to have such a range of outdoor activities which engage such a large number of people from Clevedon and the wider south west community, all focused on a specific area of town. Having said this, the Clevedon Skate Project team would like to see more high quality amenities and specialised spaces in the town for young people, hence their proposals, which they would see as complementing existing amenities. It would if you like, be the final piece in the jigsaw of what is our lovely seafront.

The team are quite clear about wanting to work alongside existing community groups and creating a cohesive community space. In addition to the main constructions, they are looking for support to build a community hub and are hoping to gain funding for the purchase of a shipping container that they can use for community and outreach activities at the site. This would provide a base to store equipment and kit and for a potential place to provide drinks and snacks. They are currently in discussions with other community groups such as the YMCA in Clevedon to support youth led sessions from the hub.

They welcome links locally, nationally and internationally and drew are attention to Skatepal which you can learn about here:   and  Skatistan which you can learn about here:

The Clevedon Skate  Project aims to provide the town’s young people with a brilliant new space which will encourage an active, healthy lifestyle and have an impact on physical, mental, social and emotional health and wellbeing. It offers a vehicle for the development of so many important skills and behaviours such as accountability, empathy, dedication, community engagement, leadership and collaboration. It is one of the most inclusive sports in the world; it dissolves barriers between class, race, age and gender and it isn’t hierarchical – it doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or a professional, a child or an adult.  And most importantly skateboarding is fun!

As I said at the start of this blog post it’s all systems go! The Clevedon Skate Project have applied for funding to support the training of skateboard coaches to run sessions that will help those interested in getting into skateboarding understand the basics and help develop their skills. Training will start in April for three people yet to be identified. If you are interested then contact the team.

Discussions with skate park designers for both pumptrack and skate park designs are all at consultation stage and there will eventually  be a full official council tendering process. There are so many ways you could support this project:

  • Visit the Clevedon Skate Project’s social media platforms:

Website: clevedonskateproject.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ClevedonSkateProject/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/skateclevedon

Instagram: @skateclevedon

  • Share the Clevedon Skate Project story with others on your social media platforms
  • Blog about the Clevedon Skate Project
  • Start a video discussion about the Clevedon Skate Project
  • Keep the Clevedon Skate Project in mind when others are talking about projects in Clevedon that they might get involved with
  • Add the Clevedon Skate Project to any bids you might be putting in
  • Let the Clevedon Skate Project know about funding opportunities
  • Join the Clevedon Skate Project as a member and engage in the project
  • Identify a fundraising opportunity for the Clevedon Skate Project
  • Identify an individual or business who might financially support the Clevedon Skate Project
  • Identify an activity that the Clevedon Skate Project could jointly host and hold in Clevedon.
  • Identify other individuals who the Clevedon Skate Project should contact
  • Share knowledge or skills of fundraising or events hosting with the Clevedon Skate Project
  • Share knowledge or skills of a community project with the Clevedon Skate Project team

All the best for success in your project; be assured of maximum support from Faces of Clevedon.

 

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