Ottery St Mary Skate Park needs you: Ramp up support

PUBLISHED: 11:05 20 June 2016 | UPDATED: 09:08 21 June 2016

The opening of Ottery St Mary skate park. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref sho 7005-15-12SH. To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

The opening of Ottery St Mary skate park. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref sho 7005-15-12SH. To order your copy of this photograph go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24

Archant

Call for resurgence of community spirit to secure future of site

Ottery Skate Park supporters have issued a cry for help to complete their project and secure its future in the face of a severe funding shortfall.

The long-awaited site behind Colin Tooze Leisure Centre was finally opened four years ago after a 10-year struggle by volunteers, but lack of money and support is hitting the facility hard.

Trustee and driving force behind the project, Elli Pang hopes a resurgence of the community spirit that got it off the ground could help to finish the park – which is still awaiting a half-pipe ramp – and save it for future generations.

She said the original plans included a half-pipe and there could now be hope of applying for the £15,000 needed to install one, but volunteers were crying out for help to maintain the site.

Elli – who is also a town councillor - said: “We are doing a massive drive to get the final ramp. With this big influx of new housing, there will be more people than ever needing this facility.

“More money is needed to buy the half-pipe and also to maintain the site. The annual budget is around £5,000. We get only £2,500 and we are really struggling to keep going.

“The dream is to have a ‘kiddie’ track for younger children as well.”

She said young people of the town were heavily involved in the management of the park, but more trustees were badly needed, as well as sponsors to help cover the annual £2,500 deficit.

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.

Supporter Ed Lamb, who has two sons who are skaters, spoke of the importance of the facility - adding he would rather they were in the skate park than on pavements and roads in the town.

Anyone who can help by volunteering time as a trustee, or offering sponsorship, can contact Elli on 01404 812268. Alternatively, visit the Ottery St Mary Skate Park Facebook page.

The skate park is hosting the East Devon team street sports trials today (Friday), from 4.30pm and 6.30pm. There will also be another music, skate and BMX festival on September 17, following the success of last year’s inaugural event.

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