YOUNG USERS of Tavistock skate park have backed a campaign to have it replaced with a modern, safer and more inclusive version.

The park, next to the River Tavy is metal, covered in graffiti and breaking up in parts, making it dangerous. It is also noisy when being used due to the surface and does not give more experienced users enough of a challenge, while inexperienced users and some girls are intimidated by its use by confident lads.

So a group from Tavistock Youth Cafe made up of youth workers, skaters, and young people have formed a steering group known as TaviSkate. They are urging community support for their vision to provide the town with a concrete skatepark for many wheeled sports.

The new surface would be quieter and safer because if would not have the joins with gaps and protruding bolts, due to age, that the current park has. Concrete is also a safer surface than metal in the wet.

Parent Emma Rawlins brings her two boys Austin, ten and Joss, seven, to the skate park whenver it is dry. She said: “When we first moved here we were impressed that there was a skate park at all and we come here whenever we can and the boys want to. They love scootering around. But now I’ve noticed its limitations. It’s showing wear and tear on the ramps. Also, there’s nowhere for the younger and less experienced children to go. So, when it’s busy and full of boys zooming around at speed, I don’t let them on. So, if a new onbe has areas for inexperienced childsren to go on, then that’s great. And if concrete is the best surface, then I fully back the campaign for funding for a replacement.”

A survey by Tavistock Town Council’s Neighbourhood Development Plan has shown that one of the priorities for young residents which would make a big impact on their lives, is the provision of a new skate park.

Vicki Lloyd-Walsh, youth leader, and Tavistock Youth Cafe manager, said: “We have a vision, on behalf of young people of Tavistock to provide them with what they’ve been saying they want for years, a modern, well-designed skate park that’s safe and inclusive — that encourages and welcomes children and young people, whatever their ability and age.”

Alfie, 15, comes from Gunnislake to use his skateboard: “I come here most days, But it’s got lots of damage and that causes falls. It doesn’t have enough features to satisfy us who want to improve.” Joel, 15, said: “I come ehre every day, but we need a new concrete park. The model would be the one in Central Park in Plymouth. We need more smoother fly-outs and different sections with more advanced areas to be more challenging. But it is a sociable place for us to chill out by the ‘tin’ as well as skate.”

Jayden Harcup, 11, said: “I ride my bike and scooter on here. But it’s not safe when wet.”