Funding shortfall hitting Ottery Skate Park
PUBLISHED: 06:10 16 December 2015
Call for more support to help secure the future of the well-used site
A struggle to cope with a £2,500 funding deficit is casting doubt over the future of Ottery Skate Park.
The volunteer-run site behind the Colin Tooze leisure centre was finally opened in 2012 after a 10-year battle to get it off the ground, but recently the facility has been plagued with problems and trustees are crying out for more support.
Initial plans for the skate park relied on a financial contribution from the nearby King’s School – then a designated sports college - but a change in government policy means there is no funding available for any community activity.
Trustee Elli Pang has been a driving force behind the skate park from the beginning.
She said: “It’s just really difficult to work with only half the budget we need. We are trying our best because the young people are so grateful to have it.
“If we have to close the park because we do not have the funds, I do not know what they will do.
“At the moment, it’s OK, but in a year or so when there are more costs of keeping the ramps maintained, it will be harder.”
She added the latest problem has been vandals cutting through the lock on the site gate which is in place to prevent motor vehicles entering.
Elli explained that she has been unable to apply to major charitable funding sources such as Sport England because in the original agreement with The King’s School, it was agreed the skate park would not be used during school hours.
Park trustees said any offers of help or sponsorship would be gratefully welcomed.
Friend of the skate park Josefina Gori said: “Keeping the site running, maintaining and upgrading the installations is becoming more and more difficult by the day.
“We are doing our best to promote the park and organising events that will help the trust to raise funds. We are very lucky to have a group of very enthusiastic youngsters who come to the meetings, support the events and are even thinking of organising fundraising activities.”
Headteacher Faith Jarrett confirmed the school has received no government funding for any community activity since the end of 2010, when the specialist schools movement was stopped, and so cannot legally contribute.
Anyone who can help by volunteering time as a trustee, or offering sponsorship ideas for the skate park, can contact Elli Pang on 01404 812268.
Alternatively, you can visit the Ottery St Mary Facebook page.