The ups and down of the Clevedon Skate Project.

It’s such an exciting time for the skate boarding community with skate boarding making its Olympic debut and representing young people from all over the world. Olympic officials have said that last week’s ‘Street’ medal ceremony may have been the youngest podium ever with an average age of 14 years and 191 days! And of course it’s not all over! The ‘Park’ section takes place on Wednesday 4 August with all eyes on Sky Brown Britain’s 13-year-old sensation.

For those of you reading this who want to watch the event live, it starts at 9.00am JST/1.00am BST with the preliminary heats at the Ariake Sports Park, and the final taking place later the same day starting at 12.30pm JST/4.30am BST.

It’s been an equallly exciting and busy time for the team behind Clevedon Skate Project, with several triumphs, but sadly followed by some bad news.

North Somerset Council have announced that Clevedon Skate Project have been successful in securing a £35,000 grant to place a community ‘Hub’ next to the skate park and proposed bike pump track. The Hub will be used by the Project, with external organisations, to run training/coaching and outreach sessions. Providing a safe and welcoming centre for activities at Salthouse Fields, is vital to the community ethos behind the parks revamp, and their mission as a charity.

‘We are delighted and hugely grateful to North Somerset Council for putting their faith in us with this grant. After training sessions that are fully-booked within hours, and so much positive feedback from the local community, we know this will be a vital and well-used resource that also helps demonstrate Clevedon’s young people have not been forgotten about.’

On July 10th and 11th Clevedon Skate Project hosted skateboarding and BMX coaching plus creative zine-making workshops, at Salthouse Fields as part of Curzon Cinema’s ‘Seaside Cinema.’ The events were a huge success, run for free via funding from Clevedon YMCA, The Barn and The Veg Box.  The latest design proposals for the new park were also on display. 

‘Feedback from these sessions was fantastic and it was great to meet so many enthusiastic supporters, it really helped show just how much these new facilities are desired by the local community. Our next step is the August launch of the final design consultation which will allow for any tweaks of the designs, to ensure users are as happy as can be with the new facilities. Once that is done and formalised, Clevedon Skate Project will be applying to the large funding bodies to top up the £60,000 that we currently have, to reach our goal of £170,000 for the skatepark plus an additional £150,000 for the bike pump track.’

After so many positive outcomes, it came as quite a blow to learn that Clevedon Town Council has had to take the decision to close the entire skatepark (as of Fri 30 July). The skatepark is inspected regularly, and its latest inspection found so many areas of rust/holes and panels coming loose that it has been deemed unsafe for users. 

‘The timing couldn’t be worse, right at the start of the summer holidays; lockdown had already produced a surge in skateboarding, bmx-ing and rollerskating, with bmx-ing and skateboarding in the Olympics this week increasing the sports profile even further. We are devastated the park has had to be closed but agree with the council that it is not fit for purpose, which is exactly why we need to fundraise as quickly as possible to bring new facilities to Clevedon. Embracing wheeled sports has been a lifeline to many people’s mental health since Covid-19 hit, just as cold-water swimming has been: we are therefore deeply concerned at the thought of this being taken away from people after, what has been, such a tough 18 months. The Skate Project, alongside the council, will now face some tough decisions. Ideally we do not want to throw thousands of pounds at patching up a skatepark that we are desperately trying to replace when that money could go towards the new one. We now need to focus on our community support via donations or sponsorship before applying for the larger grants, we’ve come a long way in the last 3 years and hopefully this is just another small bump in the road to better things.’

As always if you want to get involved or support the project then get in touch with the team.

For the latest updates you can follow Clevedon Skate Project on facebook/twiter/instagram and signup to the newsletter via the website where you can also find the link to donate (Clevedon Skate Project are a registered charity). 

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