Mum jumps in to help kids win skatepark

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‘THE Dip’ in Jedburgh could have a new role as a skate park for Borders youngsters, writes Sally Gillespie.

The estimated £120,000 project gained the support of the town’s community council last week.

Organiser Sally-ann Pirt said: “The skateboard park is going to be a massive ongoing project that will hopefully grow and grow.”

The planned concrete facility for skateboards, bike riders and others could boost the local economy, she says.

“The skateboard park will be for the kids of Jedburgh and surrounding area, and the whole of the Borders, but it will also be great for people coming through Jedburgh and it would be good for business within the town too,” she added.

Mrs Pirt is preparing bids for cash to build the track from SportScotland and other bodies. And she is keen to hear people’s proposals for the facility planned at the former ‘trim track’ opposite the town’s bus station.

The idea – which has been talked about on and off for more than 20 years – came up again most recently five months ago.

Mrs Pirt explained: “A car park in the town was being extended and all the kids at my son’s school thought it was a skatepark. When they realised it was just a car park, there was a big groan.”

That was enough to prompt the mum-of-three into action.

“I decided to take the bull by the horns and do it myself. I just started talking to people and asking their ideas. I want people to tell us what they want and give us their opinion.”

The mum-of-three has the support of two other parents as she pushes the idea forward and friends have helped with research.

The project has attracted more than 200 supporters on its Facebook site since it was set up four months ago.

“It gets people thinking and talking and giving us their input,” said Mrs Pirt.

“I feel really passionate about this as do quite a lot of people.”

The park would be for anyone riding self-propelled bikes (jump, dirt, BMX and others), scooters, roller skates and roller blades, as well as skateboards, said Mrs Pirt. And she hopes users could hold competitions and training events there.

Police and local businesses in Jedburgh Alliance have given the idea their backing. Mrs Pirt says Jedburgh Grammar School pupils are keen to see the park progress.

She said: “The three Scottish Borders councillors have been absolutely brilliant.”

Mrs Pirt and her husband Matthew run a habitat management company in the Oxnam Valley and have three children – their BMX bike-riding son, Angus, who would be a keen park user, and two younger daughters.

Mrs Pirt said: “The skateboard park is a blank canvas at this stage. I’m just here to help people get on and finally get what they want.”

For more information see the Jed Skatepark Project on Facebook or contact Mrs Pirt at jedskatepark@gmail.com