Tricks treat for bold youngsters

Two proud BMX fans were flying heel-flipping high this week after £52,000 was spent making their playground dream came true. Back in January, enthusiasts Ross Youngman, 17, and George Sapey, 12, went to a meeting of the Tas Valley Neighbourhood Forum and boldly begged for improvements to the skateboard and BMX facility in Long Stratton.

Two proud BMX fans were flying heel-flipping high this week after £52,000 was spent making their playground dream came true.

Back in January, enthusiasts Ross Youngman, 17, and George Sapey, 12, went to a meeting of the Tas Valley Neighbourhood Forum and boldly begged for improvements to the skateboard and BMX facility in Long Stratton.

The enterprising duo, who even went to the trouble of sketching out a plan of the equipment they hoped for, were accompanied on their quest by police community support officer Liz Ely. She was keen to help them find a safe place for young people to meet, skateboard and cycle with their friends.

“It was nice to see young people so enthusiastic and determined to have the facility in the village,” she said. “As they have been involved with the planning of the skate and BMX park from start to finish they can gain real ownership of the facility and this is something they can be proud of.”


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So impressed were the forum members that agreed to back the project to replace the old skateboard ramps on the village recreation ground. Working closely with the parish council, more than £52,000 in funding was found to make their dream become a reality.

And Ross and George were only too pleased to demonstrate their skills at the launch of the new equipment on Tuesday.

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South Norfolk councillor Hedley Smith, chairman of the forum, said: “This excellent new facility is a great example to all youngsters of what can be achieved when they become involved. The young people's initiative was really impressive.”

Parish clerk, Evelyn Riches, added: “The youngsters were very keen, they came along and brought some drawings as to what they would like to see there.”

The £52,062 for the new equipment came from Long Stratton Parish Council's 106 agreement with developers Wilcon who had committed a sum of money to be allocated towards community projects.

Andrew Lansdell, chairman of Long Stratton Parish Council, said: “We are delighted to have provided the youth facility for Long Stratton. I would like the young people to use the new skate and bike park but at the same time respect it.”

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