Shopping centre picks Stourbridge skate park project as chosen cause for 2014

First published in Black Country News

STOURBRIDGE'S Ryemarket shopping centre has pledged to support a project to bring a brand new state-of-the-art indoor skatepark to town throughout 2014.

Manager Kelley Dyas has chosen the town's Unit3sixty project as the centre's new chosen cause - branding it a "worthy recipient of fundraising in the centre next year".

The skate, scooter and BMX park project is the brainchild of former cycling champion and Stourbridge firefighter Gavin Pardoe who wants to make it the best facility of its kind in the country.

It has now received pledges of £135,000 (£60,000 fromDudley Council's community forums and community enterprise fund and £75,000 from Charity Bank) to get the project off the ground, and the 22,000 square foot facility is on track to open in the New Year.

Ryemarket boss Kelley said: "It's a magnificent community scheme. Youngsters sometimes get a raw deal and this will provide them with a much-needed facility seven days a week, not only for skateboards, BMX riders and those who ride scooters but a place for budding musicians to jam and urban street dancers.

"Graffiti artists will also be able to display their work, so it has a raft of benefits.”

The Unit3sixty project, which will be run as a social enterprise, will be based in a former warehouse on Mill Race Lane on The Stourbridge Estate - and will feature a world championship standard indoor skate park with the latest ramps, rails and jumps; an intermediate level skate park for BMX-ers, skateboarders and scooter riders.

It will also include a mini balance bike course for two to five-year-olds, a cafe and viewing gallery.

Mr Pardoe, a former national time trial and road race competitor who works as watch commander at Stourbridge Fire Station, described the shopping centre's gesture as a "welcome boost" and added: “Every little bit helps. We're hoping to sell merchandise and memberships for the park in the Ryemarket soon."

To find out more about the project check out new website www.unit3sixty.com

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