Teenagers get rolling on plans for skatepark

From left, Scott Robertson, Ryan Brown and Shaun Stevens

From left, Scott Robertson, Ryan Brown and Shaun Stevens

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SKATEBOARDING youngsters have helped to push forward plans for a new £250,000 skatepark in the Capital.

The teenagers had grown tired of making bus trips across the city to attend Edinburgh’s only dedicated facility, Saughton Skatepark.

They took matters in their own hands and enlisted the help of their local councillor and community organisations.

Their patience and hard work has paid off as an application for the Easter Drylaw Park facility is to be submitted within the next fortnight.

Youth development worker with Drylaw Neighbourhood Centre, Thomas Brown, said: “A group of lads had grown fed up with having to take the bus four or five times a week to Saughton so they approached one of the local councillors, Lesley Hinds, to see if she would support the idea of setting up a similar skate park in the Drylaw area.

“My job as a youth worker is to try and ensure that the young people who had the idea in the first place, get to stay involved in making the decisions, as opposed to politicians making decisions on their behalf.”

St Augustine’s High pupil, Shaun Stevens, 15, explained how the idea came about.

He said: “There’s nothing in the area for people my age so myself and a group of mates decided to head along to councillor Hinds’ surgery in Ferry Hill Primary and ask her to help us.

“Some of the meetings we sat through were tough. None of us had a clue what anybody was talking about but it’s all been worth it. It makes me proud that we all stuck at it.

“Skateboarders have a pretty bad reputation but we’re just looking for something to do.”

Campaigners had to fight for more than a decade for the Saughton facility as bids to build skateparks at the Meadows and Inverleith Park were both thrown out due to local opposition.

With this in mind, Shaun and his friends have already been out with local councillors from Drylaw Community Council to consult with residents whose houses back on to the park.

And the consultation has resulted in positive responses.

Councillor Hinds said: “These young people are to be applauded for their efforts. Community involvement doesn’t rank too high in the minds of today’s youth so for these guys to get so heavily involved is great.

“At least with this facility you know it will be used as there has been input from its intended users the whole way through.”

At present the group has been awarded £40,000 towards its £250,000 target by the Inverleith Neighbourhood Partnership.

The plans are for a 500 square metre area, complete with jumps, ramps and bowls for skateboarders, BMX bikers and in-line skaters.

Mr Brown added: “We hope to submit the plans within the next fortnight. We are also about to submit a number of fundraising applications to various awards bodies.”