MELROSE teenagers are campaigning to get a skateboard park built in their town, writes Sally Gillespie.
The young people went to the town’s community council meeting in January to lobby for support and suggest they use part of Priorswood Park for their sport.
Now mums Susan McBain, Anna Smith and Fiona Leitch are supporting their and others’ children in their bid to build a facility estimated to cost around £250,000.
Mrs McBain, chairperson of the Melrose Jubilee Skatepark Project committee, said: “It would mean so much to them. They are desperate to up their skills. It would keep them outside and healthy. A lot of them have spent a lot of time on their Xboxes indoors and they are getting out and really enjoying themselves.”
One of the group is planning a website for the park which would be aimed at users from four years old upwards for scootering, inline skating, BMX and skateboarding.The committee is to planning to set up a meeting with Historic Scotland about using a section of the park near the town’s abbey.
“The sooner we can get a meeting with them the better because then we will know whether it will be feasible there or not, “ said Mrs McBain.
“It has just snowballed since January. We are looking at maybe £250,000 for the park: we want to go big, we think it will be used by a lot of Borders people.”
Currently youngsters are travelling to Edinburgh, Penicuik and other places to practise their skills on a sports-specific park.
And 16 of the group went on a fact-finding visit to Perth’s skateboard park last Sunday where 30 local young people answered questionnaires.
Mrs McBain said: “After explaining the purpose of our visit, the locals soon embraced us into their patch, giving their views on how important the park was, how it changed their lives and most of all, they were proud to demonstrate their individual skills. They showed how this sport has changed their lives, keeping them off the streets, encouraging friendships and bonds which would otherwise never have happened and showing mutual respect and caring for one another from the oldest to the youngest.”
She says creating a park in Melrose is “very important”.
“If kids in this area are not into rugby or tennis or a little bit football, there is absolutely nothing for them at all.
“Having their own skatepark would create a sense of pride and protection, with them having been involved in it from the start.”
The group is taking advice from Scottish Borders Council on fundraising.