Old school hall is being turned into skate park
Rob Sharp with some ramps at the former school assembly hall, which will be transformed into an indoor skate park
YOUNG skateboarders will have a new place to practice their skills when a youth club builds an indoor skate park.
The YOU Foundation has ordered a 20-piece modular park which can be arranged the way its users want.
It will be set up over the next month inside the old assembly hall at its home, the former Staple Hill Primary School off Page Road, now known as the YouF Centre.
The young people at the club, which caters for 11 to 19-year-olds in the area, will be able to help build the ramps and vote on how to arrange them for skate sessions once the indoor park is up and running.
YOU Foundation manager Rob Sharp says the idea for the project, which will be known as the Boarding School, came after the pandemic meant the centre had to close its indoor activities last year.
Youth workers were asked by the council and police to go to areas where children and teenagers were gathering and noticed how many of them had taken up skateboarding. Sporting body Skateboard GB estimates 70,000 people have taken up skateboarding nationwide in the last year.
Rob said: “It’s the perfect sport for a pandemic. You can do it on your own and if you have a lot of time on your hands you can learn a new skill.”
You Foundation workers took a ramp and rails to Page Park last summer but the equipment could only be used in dry weather, which prompted the plan to build an indoor facility that could be used in all weathers, once restrictions allow.
The £4,000 cost of the scheme is being met by a combination of grants and fundraising, and the charity also aims to raise money to provide coaches, plus skateboards and scooters for people who don’t have one of their own to use at the indoor park.
Before lockdown the YouF Centre would host up to 30 young people and Rob plans to hold two or three skateboarding sessions per night for around 10 people at a time at the Boarding School, once restrictions allow.
He said: “As restrictions lift we hope it will grow and grow.
“It’s a modular design so we can set up as big or small as we want and there are hundreds of thousands of different layouts we can do.
“We can get the young people using it to vote on some different designs and vary it week by week.”
Since news of the park was shared on social media there has also been interest from older skaters and parents of younger children, but Rob said these would need to be organised separately from the YOU Foundation sessions.
The charity grew out of the Staple Hill Methodist Youth Project, which started in 2005, becoming an independent organisation in 2015 and moving into the old primary school building in 2017.
Young people who want to find out more about the Boarding School should visit the website at theyoufoundation.org.
Fundraising and other enquiries can be made by email to email@example.com.