Teenagers’ skateboard park campaign boosted by primary school head in Mattishall, near Dereham

Village teenagers campaigning for a skateboard park received a boost when a primary school headteacher said he hoped to provide land for their project.

The young activists have collected nearly 300 signatures after going door-to-door in Mattishall, near Dereham, seeking support, and presented their case to councillors and residents at the annual parish meeting on Wednesday, May 23.

Ben Cordle, 14, and Will Tyler, 13, prepared a video of children who use skateboards, bikes and scooters in the roads having to stop whenever cars passed, and presented their research on costings, materials and what children want.

They contrasted Mattishall, the second largest village in Norfolk, with Wreningham, which is a quarter of its size but has skateboard facilities. Presenting a PowerPoint presentation, they said: 'It gets us out of the house and gives us a place to exercise and socialise without the danger of vehicles.

'It is a great place for young people with scooters, BMXs and skateboards. It keeps them off the street and stops them from annoying the residents of Mattishall.'

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The pair said local skaters wanted equipment made of concrete because it is more durable, vandal-proof and gives good traction.

Fielding questions from the assembled politicians and residents, they said a new skatepark in Mundesley cost �85,000, excluding land, and admitted they did not know of any girls in the village who use skateboards.

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They also explained to the adults that if they used Facebook they could 'like' their campaign page, but many older residents admitted they were baffled by the finer points of skateboard terminology.

Mattishall primary school head Tony Chapman backed the campaign after Ben and Will organised a formal business meeting with him to discuss their plans, and said he was trying to open up the school's grounds during holidays.

He said: 'What the boys were saying was [the school] would be a safe space to have a skatepark because you would not have any traffic, but you would have parking if they wanted dropping off. I think it's a realistic prospect because it's very difficult in a village like this for youths to have a facility.'

He said he would now discuss the options with the school's governing body, while the area's county councillor, Bill Borrett, told the youngsters he could help them with grant applications.

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