THE EXTENSIVE revamp of Redditch Skatepark will be able to get under way later this year after a new 12-year lease on it was signed.
The agreement between the borough council and the Redditch Wheels Project releases £21,000 from the Sport England Community Asset Fund, with match-funding coming from the Margaret Westwood Trust (£10,000) and the Co-Op Community Fund (£4,600).
The project has been led by Robert Scriven, the newly-appointed capital development director of Redditch Wheels Project – the charity which operates the Skatepark – and involves local young people.
The development will bring the 22-year-old park up-to-date, utilising modern materials but keeping the layout of the park to a traditional format, catering for all levels of participant.
Mr Scriven said: “Redditch has been connected to extreme sports for many years and these sports have had a positive impact on the local community for multiple generations.
“With this funding we will continue to support the future generations of Redditch.
“This long-anticipated upgrade will look to support the next wave of athletes from grass roots, placing a leading facility within the local community, but also attracting users from further afield due to being located within minutes of the UK’s motorway networks.”
Steve Rooke, founder of the Redditch Wheels Project, thanked all the supporters and added: “The Skatepark has gone through several changes it must continue to evolve with these ever-progressing sports, this is the largest investment to date.
“The Olympics are inspiring new young people to take up BMX and skateboarding.
“We want to provide a pathway to develop this as well as offering somewhere to go and something to do for young people in Redditch that is affordable.”
At Tokyo 2020, Team GB enjoyed multiple success with Bethany Shriever getting gold and Kye White silver in the BMX racing, Charlotte Worthington gold and Declan Brooks bronze in the BMX Freestyle and Sky Brown earning bronze in skateboarding.
Coun Mike Rouse, Redditch Borough Council’s portfolio holder for leisure, added: “It’s absolutely awesome that skateboarding and BMX has finally got the recognition at the Olympics that they deserve, and it was spectacular to see British athletes take gold in Tokyo.
“As a council, and as a town, we must all get behind the great ideas and vision being put forward by the Redditch Wheels Project almost like it is our collective civic duty, because let’s not forget that BMX in the UK basically started in Redditch and so we owe it to our own heritage to be very strong backers of the sport.”
Sport England Director of Property, Charles Johnston, said he was proud to have supported the project.
“The refurbished skatepark in Redditch will be a great facility for local young people to enjoy a range of activities.”