Youth forum plans skatepark

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YVONNE O’HARA

yvonne.ohara@alliedpress.co.nz

Roxburgh Youth Forum members would like to see a skatepark built for the valley’s youth.

This year’s youth forum was launched at the beginning of the term and includes seven members from Roxburgh Area School, including forum co-leaders Niamh Glassey-Latta and Annalee Black (both 13).

“We are the voice for the youth and a voice for change,” Annalee said.

“We are also looking at recruiting more young people.”

The forum was established by youth worker Paul Mahoney last year, and although those members moved on to other things, this year’s group are just as enthusiastic.

Mr Mahoney said the forum provided leadership opportunities for the young people.

Niamh said the group had a skatepark design drawn up and hoped to have the park built behind the playground and close to the Roxburgh Bowling Club.

The skatepark would be well lit, visible from the street and provide a place to ride for skateboarders and scooter riders, as well as being a safe place for young people to socialise.

Annalee said the group surveyed pupils at the school to find out if such a facility would be used and more than 70% of the 130 respondents said they were in favour of developing the park and would use it.

The forum members have been raising funds.

“We were at the A&P Show and have raised $200,” Annalee said.

The money will be added to the previous committee’s fundraising efforts of about $1000.

The group hoped to establish a youth cafe, which would also be a fundraiser, she said.

Forum members were working on a presentation for a school assembly to explain what they had planned.

They also wanted to talk to the Central Otago District Council about their ideas, and once they had a formal proposal in place, they hoped to approach the Central Lakes Trust and Otago Community Trust for funding.

“Now we are looking for sponsorship,” Niamh said.

They have also surveyed bowling club members for their thoughts on the proposal.

Forum members have talked to school principal Gary Pasco about the swimming pool renovations and he told them he was keen to see more collaboration between the pool committee and the district’s youth.

Niamh said they were looking forward to having the swimming pool water heated.

“We have quite a few small or thinner build people, so they freeze up when they get in the water,” she said.

The forum would also like to see more bike trails built.