Earlier this year I attended a public meeting of Medway Council where a teenage boy asked whether the Council would try to keep the Indoor Skatepark open on the Rochester Industrial Estate. The park has a zero tolerance policy towards drugs and alcohol and is supervised, giving skateboarders a safe place to go and skate whatever the weather.
I was so impressed by the young man that as soon as I was asked by the parents organisation working tirelessly to keep the park open if I could help in any way I immediately jumped on board, writing to a number of people asking for their support. The issue has been raised with both Medway and Tonbridge & Malling Council since it is right on the boundary, and I raised it in a meeting with Kent County Council on Friday. The Medway Youth Forum and the Council's Scrutiny Committee are looking at the issue this week so one way or another we will find out about the park's future.
I believe it is vital the indoor park is kept open. It provides a supervised environment for youngsters to skate - in all weather - which basically keeps them off the streets. I had a skateboard when I was younger and with no where else to go, the local high street became our skate park. No-one wants that anymore so the financial grant required is in my view a small investment for a lot of community harmony. And now with the International Olympic Committee considering giving skateboarding its Olympic debut in London 2012, the park may well be the practice ground for a future British gold medallist. It is for these reasons I wish the parents organisation success this week, for I believe it will be an incredible shame if local youngsters from across Medway and Tonbridge & Malling lose this wonderful community facility.