Over the last few months, it has become apparent that there are many more people skating in places that residents do not feel happy about, such as outside the Marlowe in Canterbury and multi-storey car parks. The lockdown has made it clear that young people have had very few places to go to exercise, and enjoy pastimes outdoors away from an ever-growing online world.
However, we can’t start criminalising young people for wanting to do an activity that is healthy and community led . More and more young people are on their digital devices, surely encouraging outdoor activity is a good thing!
Although these are not desirable and appropriate spaces for them to skate, it does highlight that there is a need for more free, well-designed, safe and inspiring places for skaters and young people to go and experience this outdoor pursuit. We can’t just keep moving them on and displacing them without a viable alternative.
The skatepark in Thanington, Canterbury , is very old now and not looked after, it is slippery, small and unwelcoming and therefore would be amazing and constructive to have some more outdoor free spaces in Canterbury for skateboarders to go. These could be attached to already existing play areas and at not much cost or new even better places found.
Skating has shown to be a great way to engage and bring together young people, adults; from experts to beginners and it has been seen that the admiration, respect and etiquette for all skaters, is part of a wider culture and way of life.
I believe it is important we take on skateboarding as part of our community and it is recognised for the respected sport it is.
The Far Academy wishes to open an Olympic standard Skate Park in Canterbury which is an amazing opportunity for us as a district. Not only to help train young people to compete nationally, internationally and to put Canterbury district on the map as an Olympic standard, but to also give something wonderful back to the community.
Support our young people to build confidence and self-esteem , to reach their potential and to be part of a thriving and exciting forward-thinking community. Canterbury City Council needs to embrace our skaters and skating community.
On the 25th February, Councillor Mel Dawkins is proposing a motion asking:
- For a provision of a skate-park facilities to be embedded in this councils Open Space’s strategy, to be considered going forward and in the local plan.
- For the council to actively seek suitable areas for skate-park facilities next to existing play parks and or adjacent play areas and new locations.
- To commit to working closing with already existing providers such as the Far Academy to promote this established healthy , well-managed sport and culture.