Extra £50,000 boost for Kelso skatepark plans

An artist's impressions of the new skatepark
An artist's impressions of the new skatepark

Kelso Skatepark has landed a £50,000 community grant, meaning the project now has secured half the funding it needs for a major overhaul of its Shedden Park site.

It has been awarded £50,000 by Wren, an environmental body handing out cash yielded by the Scottish Landfill Community Fund.

Skatepark chairman Ali Hay said: “We are all chuffed to bits at being granted this funding.

“The group has been putting some serious effort in over the last year, and it’s moments like these that really make it worthwhile.

“The news means that, with other applications in place, we are well on our way to getting this project started ahead of schedule.”

Back in May 2016, the project took off after amassing £5,305 after launching a crowdfunding appeal – providing for planning permission, a feasibility study, designs, insurance and a full lease of the site.

And in January the project achieved its first major funding, a grant of £42,000 from Viridor Credits.

This second lump sum has helped the group take its fundraising total to £100,000 of their £200,000 target, leading to optimism that work on the park could begin as soon as next month.

“Now the drier months are coming in and the existing park is filling with people daily, it’s really starting to hit home how amazing a facility this will be,” Mr Hay, 28, added.

Due to limitations in funding and a desire to grow, the group, formed in 2009, took over the lease in May 2016 and started putting together plans for the future.

The existing skate park, built in 2001, will be taken away and within its footprint, a modern park will be built to offer more diversity, space and areas to suit all different abilities.

It will also include planted areas, creative features and a Kelso cobbled wall.

Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk MP Calum Kerr added: “After visiting the site with Ali in January, it’s great to see hard work pay off with major funding, and I’m delighted this success looks likely to continue.

“I’m confident the young people of Kelso will be excited by this news, and I’ll continue to work closely with the team behind this project, as I have done from its earliest phase, as they move ever nearer to reaching their goal.”

With further grants in the pipeline, the group hopes building work can begin in mid-May and finish within the year.

Sophie Cade, Wren’s grant manager for Scotland, said: “It’s always nice to see something we have funded start to take shape.

“We’re delighted to be supporting such a worthwhile project and look forward to it benefiting youngsters across Kelso.”