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New skate park opens in Yarmouth

PUBLISHED: 11:34 27 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:30 03 July 2010

It all began with the not untypical whingeing of teenagers that they had nothing to do in their spare time.

But whereas the moaning does not normally lead to anything more substantial, it sparked one group of Yarmouth youngsters into determined action.

It all began with the not untypical whingeing of teenagers that they had nothing to do in their spare time.

But whereas the moaning does not normally lead to anything more substantial, it sparked one group of Yarmouth youngsters into determined action.

The Revolution Skate Squad was born and two years on, after raising £170,000 and meeting a government minister on the way, their dream of building a state-of-the-art skate park in St Nicholas recreation ground, opposite the Pleasure Beach, has been realised.

As the concrete facility was officially opened on Saturday with a spectacular display by Norwich-based Revolutionz BMX display team and Drift skateboard squad, Yarmouth MP Tony Wright hailed the “fantastic effort” of the young fundraisers.

“When I was invited to the first planning meeting, it seemed a distant possibility we would end up with such a marvellous facility,” said Mr Wright, who wrote letters in support of the fund-raising. “We need more projects just like this.”

Dominick Chalkley, 16, one of the original six members of the Revolution Skate Squad, said: “I have got lots of friends who skateboard and they were always complaining they had nowhere to go.

“This is one of the most deprived areas in Norfolk. They could not afford to go the Park Warehouse, a commercial facility near here, and the nearest free parks were in Caister and Gorleston.”

Having come up with the idea of building their own skate park, the next step was to seek advice from the neighbourhood Comeunity Centre.

Staff there helped the group set up a steering committee - ages ranging from 11 to 83 - to make successful bids to a range of funders, including the Norfolk Youth Fund, police and local council.

Dominick, who will shortly be enrolling at Gorleston's East Norfolk Sixth Form College, said: “We took care to carry the community with us.

“We staged a demonstration day last year with a mobile facility to test local reaction and then leafleted the neighbourhood. Replies were more than 95pc in support of a park.”

He acknowledged the tremendous support they had had from youth development worker Holly Notcutt and Raychel Marcus, of Norfolk County Council's children's services.

The project, which won glowing praise from Home Office minister Vernon Coaker on his visit to Yarmouth in April, will be just the start of things if Dominick and his friends have their way.

He said: “We have already put in a £20,000 bid for a shelter and we are keen to revamp the neighbouring basketball court and play park for younger children.”

Dominick said their park, open to BMX bikers and inline skaters as well as skateboarders, had been in use for the past fortnight and its popularity could be gauged by the fact he had never seen fewer than 30 people on it.

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