On track to provide a Mecca

Things are moving along nicely with the Jedburgh skatepark project – is it possible that we can look forward to a real freeride park being constructed in the Borders?

An area more sportingly connected with the oval and round balls has underneath been slowly cultivating the development of freeride sports through Scottish Borders Council’s support of skateparks in some of our towns.

These parks have been greatly accepted and, more importantly, well used by groups of all ages. This use has justified their existence and takes us along the path from steel and plywood ramps to a fully-equipped, permanent freeride arena.

Skateboarding had a great burst of enthusiasm from the mid-1970s onwards before falling away to the image of hoodies and shady corners. More recently structured and accessible facilities have brought this enthusiasm back to the extent that freeride, roller, BMX and pump sports are huge not only in the UK, but worldwide.

Olympic recognition reinforces its standing as a truly athletic sport with large events both here and globally attracting sponsorship and media coverage of the highest level. Could the next Tony Hawks or Shanaze Reade be in this region? Perhaps they are, but are hidden somewhere in a generation that is becoming more dependent on microchips and cheese wi’ chips.

It’s not news that not everybody in Jedburgh is in favour of the skatepark. I can remember when the Glentress and Innerleithen trails came under fire, but the long-term benefits to the nearby towns and businesses have been more than was probably imagined.

TheSouthern regularly features the tremendous achievements of local riders who have benefited most from the trails – and it’s this that speaks loudest for their existence.

Unfortunately, this type of venture is not free, but with more than the lion’s share of funding coming from a specialised funding scheme administered by national government, it will not fall heavily on the council purse.

Let’s hope that the team behind Jedburgh’s skatepark achieves its goal and provides the region with a real Mecca for not only locals, but much-needed visitors.

Charlie Young

Bongate

Jedburgh

There is a suggestion that a skateboard park for Jedburgh should be kicked into the long grass between several Borders towns.

This must never be allowed to happen. Not everyone has a car and there is not a great deal for the young in Jedburgh to do. They must have a skateboard park, whether it is overlooked by the abbey or not.

Jocelyn Davidson

Langlee

Jedburgh