GETTING YOUR PROJECT OFF THE GROUND PART 1....
- PETITION . A petition will be the most important first step, but I suggest two: one as you may guess will be all the skateboarders, bladders and BMXer’s and their parents, but I also suggest a wider petition to car drivers fed up with you in the carpark, shoppers and shopkeepers who don’t want you on the pavement. Enlist the help of the very people who don’t want you skating around the town. Get your local Policeman to help: you being off the street will make his life easier
- CHAMPION you need an adult to work with you: maybe a Parish Councillor, a youth worker, maybe a parent. Someone who knows your community, can take on the paperwork side, who can deal with Authorities.
- PRESENTATION. Take your petition to the Parish or Town Council. Don’t get Mum or Dad to do it: I can assure you that Councillors will be very impressed that you have even heard of them, and a group of kids asking nicely will have a big impact. Use this moment to tell them how much money can be saved with a DIY project.
- COUNCILS will know if there is land available, they can help with the planning, and will be the major source of funding. You will have a Parish Council, and above them is the Borough or District Council. Find out which Councillors are in charge of leisure, and talk to them.
Below : Eccles skaters celebrate finishing their build
This lot built their own, SO CAN YOU!
- SCROUNGING Local companies will be glad to help: engineering companies, or haulage companies, who may have the space and welding equipment, access to steel suppliers at cost. Let them know you want to help build the park, you are willing to give up your time as well, not just sit about and expect everyone else to do it. Scrounging may also find a builder who might lay your base at cost, a Structural Engineer who would voluntarily give time to checking designs, a Health and Safety inspector: you never know who is around who would be glad to help a community project if you show you are willing yourselves.
- PUBLICITY get your local paper, read the reporters names on the articles, call them, tell them what you are trying to do with your DIY skatepark project: they love these sort of stories.
- DESIGN You know better than anyone what you want : you all sketch your plans, the get your champion to call a meeting at a local hall, and hassle out between you what you want.You need to get a copy of PAS35, which will give you all the design details you need. This is available from HMSO. When you have that basic plan, go to your builder, engineers and get them to cost it for you, and take that information back to the Council.
- FUNDING the local council may have reserves that it could put to this sort of project, or they might work with other local councils and the Borough Council to make a bid as their Annual Capital Grant. You could ask them to suggest and find other sources of funding, such as the Lottery. There are a lot of Childrens Funding agencies about these days, whose main criteria is that young people have conceived and designed the project.
- PLANNING PERMISSION the site may need planning permission, and this can be handled by the Council itself, or by your champion. The same applies to leases on the land.
Below : the completed Eccles Skatepark