Ossett’s skate park- £200k refurbishment plan

Skaters and scooter-riders at Ossett skate park to launch a new �200000 project to renovate the park. As well as improving facilities the scheme will run programmes for disadvantaged children at local schools and encouraging them to skate and fundraise to help them feel accomplished. Jamie Illingworth / Ben Williams /Chloe Illingworth / Adam Wilson Dan Wilson / Jed Devini. (W527F344)
Skaters and scooter-riders at Ossett skate park to launch a new �200000 project to renovate the park. As well as improving facilities the scheme will run programmes for disadvantaged children at local schools and encouraging them to skate and fundraise to help them feel accomplished. Jamie Illingworth / Ben Williams /Chloe Illingworth / Adam Wilson Dan Wilson / Jed Devini. (W527F344)

Young people and skating enthusiasts hope to raise £200,000 to transform the town’s skate park.

The project will not only see the park fully refurbished and made safer, but will also fund skating programmes for disadvantaged children.

And instead of applying for grant money, youngsters will be encouraged to raise the money themselves to improve their leadership and teamwork skills.

Jamie Illingworth, of people development company Purple Pebble People, who is leading the project, said he wanted to build Ossett’s skate community.

He said: “Many of the kids that go and skate are those who don’t feel they fit in, so it would be great if they could have their own community.

“There’s a perception that they’re drop outs or misspent youths, but these are actually some of the more intelligent kids.”

Mr Illingworth said skating promoted the sorts of principles that were important to all young people.

He said: “Skating and BMXing is something that requires commitment, and an ability to reflect on how something is done and how it can be improved.

“Our environment shapes our behaviour, and we want young people to be able to focus on what they’re doing in a safe environment.”

The skate park would be resurfaced, and decorated with artistic graffiti in the hope of deterring vandals.

And Mr Illingworth said he hoped volunteers would be able to ‘patrol’ the park to discourage anti-social behaviour.

He added: “It’s about making it a better place.”

Skaters themselves will raise the money through a variety of events, including a Three Ridges hiking challenge in the Lake District and north Wales.

And Mr Illingworth, who uses the skate park himself, said it was better than just applying for Government grants.

He said: “How good is it when you can give something back to your community that’s really worthwhile?

“I want this to be something that the group has worked towards and feels it has achieved itself. Hopefully I will be able to work with the schools to make it into a leadership programme so that a wide range of young people can benefit.”

The skate park opened in 2006 after three years of planning and design work done by youth group Ossett Wheels in Motion.

Floodlighting was installed shortly afterwards, when the group secured a Youth Capital Fund grant of £32,000 to pay for lights, hard surfacing and fencing.