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Yarmouth skate group's award nomination

PUBLISHED: 15:18 31 October 2009 | UPDATED: 15:28 03 July 2010

A GROUP of lads from a deprived area of Great Yarmouth didn't sit back and just grumble about a lack of facilities.

Instead they set out their goals, got local people on their side, secured the money and now have a state-of-the-art skate park.

A GROUP of lads from a deprived area of Great Yarmouth didn't sit back and just grumble about a lack of facilities.

Instead they set out their goals, got local people on their side, secured the money and now have a state-of-the-art skate park.

And their efforts and commitment have produced a nomination for May Gurney Young People of the Year, which closes to entries tomorrow, Saturday.

That puts the Revolution Skate Squad in line for a £1,000 top prize in a competition which has a total of £4,000 for young people in Norfolk and Suffolk who make a difference by giving to others.

This is the first Young People of the Year (YOPEY) competition that has been run in these two counties. The competition reveals, recognises and rewards young role models.

YOPEY was set up to counter the bad press that their generation is labelled because of the antics of a few. It has been endorsed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown who called it “a wonderful celebration of Britain's youth.”

The Squad was nominated by Holly Notcutt, a neighbourhood manager for Yarmouth Borough Council, who got to know the youngsters as a senior community development worker in the town.

The lads live in south Yarmouth, and tried to get the support of local people from the beginning. With a community grant from a local organisation they held a fun day and hired a mobile skate park, inviting local residents to find out about their ideas and pointing out that a permanent facility would occupy youngsters positively rather than them hanging the streets.

The day was crucially attended by several adults who were willing to support them to develop the project.

At the time the youngsters were under 15 so could not do things like open a bank account, but with adults on board they formed a group to pursue their ideas. They even drew up a tender document and interviewed potential contractors.

They also held a design session in public for the community to engage them and gain their ideas and also to re-assure them.

And with a little guidance they applied for and gained £160,000 from the public and voluntary sector to see their dream come true - aiming for an all-concrete facility with a skate bowl, ­a first for the town and surrounding areas.

In July, the facility, at St Nicholas Recreation Ground off the South Beach Parade, was finished some 18 months after it was first mooted, opened by MP Tony Wright.

The park is well used, with rarely fewer than 30 people using it at any one time.

One of the group leaders, 17-year-old Nick Carver of Admiralty Road said that before the skate park there were no facilities in the area for young people. “It was very important to get the adults on our side and we were delighted with their understanding and their help. It was a marvellous feeling when we interviewed the contractors. It was quite fun applying for the grants. It's the sort of money you dream about even though it was for the community, not ourselves.”

Another leader of the group, 16-year Dominick (CORR) Chalkley, of Hammond Road, said the facility had attracted lots of young people to the area. Nick and Dominick both go to East Norfolk Sixth Form College.

Other members of the group are Richard Carver, 15, who goes to Oriel High and 13 year olds Cameron Moreton, of Wellesley Road, and Jose Martins, of King Street, who attend Yarmouth High.

Go to www.yopey.org for more details

ends

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