Life Leisure has stepped in to provide the final piece of funding needed to complete a six-year project to re-develop the Marple Memorial Park skatepark.

The improved skatepark offers users of all disciplines (including skateboards, in-line skates, BMX and scooters) the most extensive facilities in the borough.

The new ‘destination’ facility, designed for and by the local residents – with extensive input from community groups, local skater Lewis Abbott and students at Marple Hall School – is the result of an extensive fundraising campaign led by the Friends of Marple Memorial Park Group.

Lewis commented: 

“It’s been a real rollercoaster raising the funds we needed but with help from partners and great fundraising from the community we’ve been able to bring the project to fruition. Having been involved with the skatepark’s development for the past 10 years, the project is very special to me and it’s great to see further investment in this important community asset.”

A target of £100,000 had been set in order to complete the works necessary to transform the existing facility, which had fallen into disrepair. By the beginning of March, the community had raised over £51,157 which Stockport Council had agreed to match fund, taking the total to £101,157.

But last minute construction issues threatened to throw the project off course when it was estimated that over £11,000 worth of additional funding would be required to keep the skatepark on track and avoid costly future maintenance.

A £11,750 community funding award donated by Life Leisure meant that plans to launch the new facility this spring could proceed.

A special “Celebration Jam” was organised by Friends of Marple Memorial Park at the skatepark on Easter Monday to mark the project’s completion.

Mark Whittaker, from the Friends of Marple Memorial Park Group, said:

“The extra funding was a fantastic boost to the project and meant the lower section of the skatepark will be fully integrated with the new extended area and it will alleviate potentially difficult maintenance problems that were likely to arise in the future. We would like to thank Life Leisure for stepping in at such short notice and recognising the project’s importance to the local community.

The new skatepark is already proving a hit with local residents. Commenting on the fundraising efforts and response to the project, Cllr. Geoff Abell said: ‘Within hours of the opening, many young people of all ages were already on the Marple skatepark. The generosity and tenacity of Stockport Council, Life Leisure, supporters of the Memorial Park and, of course, residents of Marple and Stockport made this happen.  Bravo!”

Malcolm McPhail, CEO of Life Leisure, said:

“Our job as a leisure trust isn’t just to run local sport and fitness facilities, it’s to make a difference to people’s lives by making sport and activity more fun, accessible and inclusive. That’s exactly what the new skatepark does and why we felt it was such a good project to support.”

Pictured enjoying the new and improved facility is Cody Whittaker, aged 9.

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