New skate park opens in Fakenham after 20-year campaign
- Credit: IAN BURT
'One of the best, if not the best in Norfolk' – that was the seal of approval given by Fakenham youngsters as a 20-year campaign to bring a new skate park to the town was finally realised.
Young people in Fakenham have been lobbying for a new skate park ever since the original one closed at Aldiss Park back in the 1990s.
They took their campaign to civic leaders, their MP and community champions and, with the emergence of Facebook, to online social media websites.
After years of funding bids, fundraising activities and public consultation, their dream has now been realised and the new £25,000 facility has opened at Millennium Park.
The opening day on Tuesday saw young people ranging in age from seven to 20 descend on the site to put their skills to the test on the newly-built ramps.
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Janet Holdom, from the steering committee which has helped make the skate park a reality, said 'awesome' had been the most-used adjective used by the youngsters to describe the facility.
She said: 'The children have been coming down here constantly wanting to know when it's going to be complete. Now it's finally open, it's not just great for the kids but it gives us a fabulous sense of satisfaction to see them get what they wanted, not just what we thought would be good for them.
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'Seeing them truly appreciate it and want to take ownership of it is fantastic. It should deliver high-energy thrills and excitement for many years to come.'
Back in 2006, Captain Ian Walford, who was the Salvation Army officer at the time, set up a community youth group and later the Park Life project, to help build a new skate park.
The initiative then expanded into a wider development of the Millennium Park, supported by Fakenham Recreation Ground Charity, Fakenham Area Partnership and other community groups.
Parents and young people in the area were surveyed last summer and youngsters worked with designers from skate park builders Highline Extreme in Downham Market to specify what they wanted.
Sufficient money for the project was raised through the Fakenham Recreation Ground Charity and Weston Garfield Trust.
Emma Smith, a town councillor and who is also on the steering committee, said: 'It's brilliant to see how much they are enjoying it. They are so excited. They were literally straight on it as soon as it opened.'
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