Skateboarders and bike riders need a place to go

Alan Turnbull and Joanne Douglas of the Berwick Urban Sports Association

Alan Turnbull and Joanne Douglas of the Berwick Urban Sports Association

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An urban sports group has been formed in Berwick in a bid to help provide opportunities for youngsters with nowhere to go.

The Berwick Urban Sports Association is working on arranging a series of funded bus trips to take local skateboarders and bmx riders to a professional indoor skatepark in Edinburgh, and has a long term goal of opening a similar facility in Berwick.

Formed by local parents, the group was set up in response to research carried out about facilities for young people in Berwick.

Chairman Alan Turnbull explained: “I felt there was a real lack of provision for activities for older children and young people - the playparks are aimed at younger kids.”

He set up a Facebook page called Berwick Youth Facilities and posted a survey to find out what people thought about a skatepark in Berwick. “The response was superb,” Alan said. “We received over 100 responses in three days.”

Volunteers then formed a committee to try to do something about it. “There are some parents of BMX kids on the committee as well as a couple of 19-year-old local skateboarders and also a couple of Berwick Town Councillors, so we have a good mix,” Alan said.

“The idea with the bus trips is to test the water and find out how much interest there really is.

“Hopefully we’ll get a good turnout and then that will be used as evidence when we apply for funding for equipment locally.”

The group is working towards an indoor facility which would be run as a not for profit business/charity. The need for such a place was highlighted at a meeting of Berwick Town Council last week, when councillor Flora Simpson raised concerns about skaters.

She said: “Often in an evening time I see youngsters on skateboards hanging around at the bottom of the town hall steps. I think it’s quite intimidating for people walking down the street.”

But Alan said: “The young people are stuck between a rock and a hard place - they don’t have anywhere to go to skate so they try to make do the best they can using the street. They’re not trying to be a nuisance.

“I think if we could provide a suitable area, they would definitely respect it and use it.”

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