The story so far...

The campaign for a skate park in Finchampstead was started by one of our group called Tom.  He enjoyed skateboarding but could not do it very often because the nearest skate park was several miles away.  He thought that there were probably lots of other young people in the area who enjoyed skateboarding, in-line skating etc. but had the same problem as him.  He thought a local skate park would give young people somewhere to go where they could have fun and get exercise without always needing lifts from parents. In January 2007 he decided to so something about it.

Tom started a petition at his school (Nine Mile Ride) and got 200 signatures.  He then sent his petition to Mr Shaw, the Head of Youth Service at Wokingham District Council, and asked if a skate park could be built.  Mr Shaw sent a letter back offering support, but said that there was no money available.  He asked Louise Morris, Villages Youth Worker, to contact Tom.

Louise thought Tom's idea of a local skate park was good and she has been talking to Finchampstead Parish Council about it.  Starting in April 2007 she set up some skate sessions at the community centre. She brought along some portable ramps and Tom produced a poster to advertise the sessions.

Louise said that the petition needed more signatures.  Jay at Jat's Pharmacy and the people in some of the other local shops kindly agreed to put the petition on their counters for people to sign.  The petition got several hundred more signatures, many of them from adults who agreed that there was not much for young people to do in Finchampstead.

In May 2007 Tom sent an article to the Finchampstead Parish magazine. The article described the campaign and told readers to look out for the petitions in the local shops. Also in May he wrote to another school (Gorse Ride) asking if he could give a talk about the campaign and take the petition for people to sign. He was allowed to do this and in June he went to the school with his friend Matthew.

In August Tom contacted the Wokingham Times and the Wokingham News and they both printed articles about the campaign (including pictures). Also in August he wrote to Finchampstead Parish Council asking if they had any land where a skate park could be built.

In the Autumn Finchampstead Parish Council had a meeting where the idea of a skate park was discussed.  They said that a skate park had been talked about before but it was too expensive. Louise said that there were organisations that might be able to help with funding. The Parish Council were asked to try to find possible sites.

Louise had been doing research and going to meetings for several months. She knew of a skate park that had been paid for with money from the Youth Opportunity fund. Tom was too young to apply to the Youth Opportunity fund so a group of us (all teenage supporters of the campaign - Tom's sister Jade, Jade's friends Neneh and Ollie and Matthew's brother Steve) got together to form a team and we applied to the fund in November 2007.  We asked the Youth Opportunity fund for enough money to pay for a low level skate park although a big skate park like Sandhurst would be brilliant.  Ideally we would like a concrete bowl which we believe would be the first in Berkshire and would cater for all ages.

After applying to the Youth Opportunity fund we sought support from people in the local community.   Two Parish councillors, Rob Stanton and Mike Gore, presented our petition to the borough council in October 2008.  This led to an article in the Wokingham Times which mentioned this web site and raised the profile of the campaign.  We have been promised the support of the local street wardens.  We asked for a skate park to be included as part of the proposed California Country Park redevelopment.  Although the council did not include provision for a skate park in their bid for lottery funding they have not ruled out the possibility for the future.  We have had several meetings with Louise and also a meeting with the people from the Youth Capital fund.  Skate park related issues will be discussed at future meetings of the borough council.  We have contacted some skate park builders to get an idea of the cost of a suitable skate park for Finchampstead and have visited several skate parks to see what can be achieved.

Our first application for funding was not successful because a site with planning permission granted had not been found.  We had more discussions with the council and the parks department considered possible sites.  We had an offer of support from the Community Development worker.  We had meetings with skate park designers so that we would have information to support our funding application.  Meanwhile we continued to surf the web so we could gather more information on how to get a skate park.

In Febuary 2009 we did a presentation for the Southern Parishes Youth Committee where we said that we would like a free-form concrete skate park.  Not everyone in attendance was in favour of this but they admitted that not all of them knew about skate parks.  In October 2009 we had a meeting with the parks department and youth team.  They said they were in favour of a concrete skate park.  Not only that - they told us it would be sited near the new  community development at Gorse Ride.  Some skate park builders have been kind enough to provide sample designs that will fit our expected budget so now we have something to show possible funding authorities.

In March 2010 we were contacted by YOF.  They have agreed to allocate our skate park 24000 pounds subject to planning permission.  This gives us a great start towards the 80000 pounds or so that we need.  We are now being helped by a professional fundraiser who is assisting us with applications to potential funders.

To check how our campaign is going please read our blog.  To contact us please use our contact form  or email us at mail@finchampsteadsk8.co.uk.