Whilst joining with Heather Morison in suggesting that a skate park at Weobley would be a good idea in many ways in terms of health, social inclusion, and youth activity, I did have some misgivings.
My perception and prejudices, based on ignorance, suggested a skate park would attract weird anarchic adolescent loners wearing baggy clothing, identified at a distance by the thump and clatter of skateboards on an urban hard landscape.
However, I have found at Weobley’s skate park the opposite to be true. Users of the skate park range from pre-school toddlers enjoying running around exploring the curved concrete contours, to teenagers hanging out and experimenting with cool moves, to experienced adults, often parents themselves. Often younger children are accompanied with their parents who make sure they wear their safety gear, but the parent’s presence often curbs the unbridled exuberance and language of some of the more enthusiastic users.
I have seen teenagers helping younger children who have fallen over, or giving advice on moves they want to try. I see that for teenagers the skate park can be like an open-air youth club involving both boys and girls in ‘struttin their stuff’ and as an audience offering a tacit approval, or with keen vocal commentary.
I found it particularly interesting when involving young skaters in writing skating rules, the suggestions included, ‘no electric scooters’ and ‘no language’, things we adults hadn’t expected.
From my perspective as play area maintainer, the skate park is a resource that benefits all ages in many different ways, both social and physical but emotional also. Now that skateboarding is an Olympic sport, maybe a Weobley skateboarder can put our village on the map.
Chris Breen - Chair, Play Area Team