Regenerating a local skate park
During the 2015 Gosport Borough Council (BC) Summer Passport, a scheme designed to engage young people in initiatives to support their local community during the school summer break, Amiri Construction Director Mark Vincent, who is a volunteer on the scheme teaching skateboarding, and several young participants identified improvements needed for the skate park at Bridgemary, Gosport which had fallen into disrepair and had become a trouble spot.
The young people felt compelled to see the Bridgemary Skate Park improvements come to life and canvassed Councillor John Beavis, who was at the event, to seek advice and guidance on how to progress their cause. This led to the beginnings of a small petition and the involvement of the Gosport Youth Council (GYC). GYC represents young people aged between 11 and 19 living in the borough of Gosport, regularly raising issues of concern and supports local initiatives for improvement and inclusion.
Mark introduced the country’s leading skatepark design and build contractor – Southampton based Gravity Engineering – and with the help of local councillors and officers from Gosport BC Leisure Department, draft plans were prepared ready for community engagement and fund raising.
The drawings were discussed at the GYC meeting in October of that year, generating a lot of excitement from people who use the park and comment on what could be improved to make it an inclusive area was given. Gosport BC and Mark also took a roadshow to each existing skatepark in the Borough to engage users and promote the scheme.
Mayor of Gosport, Councillor Linda Batty, opened the revamped skate park, which youngsters said had revitalised the scene in the town and given them what they want.
The project cost £140,000, with a £50,000 grant from the Veolia Environmental Trust, plus £5,000 from Sodexo and Urbaser. Mark continues to visit it every summer as part of the Summer Passport scheme and skateboarding has become the “most popular activity of the event” as voted by the participants.