a PILOT project to provide temporary lighting at a skate park in Belper and to cut anti-social behaviour has been hailed a success.
The scheme, at the park on Belper Meadows, proved successful after calls about anti-social behaviour were cut, while new links between the groups involved were forged.
Throughout the project, Derbyshire County Council Youth Services provided temporary lights at the skate park on Monday nights between 7pm and 9pm, for five weeks. Now they might be made permanent.
During the time the sessions were running, there were no calls to police or Amber Valley Community Safety Partnership about nuisance skateboarding in Belper.
The youth service had originally been approached after complaints to the police and the Partnership about young people using skate-boards after dark on town centre car parks.
It was decided that night-time skateboarding in such areas in the town might be prevented if lighting was provided at the skate park. And dozens of young people visited and used the park each week, with their ages ranging from 11 to 20. Among them was semi-professional skate-boarder Nick Roberts, of Belper. He first started skate-boarding at the park.
Nick went along on two of the five nights and was full of praise for the project. He said: “We’ve wanted lights here since it was built, it’s great! There’s lots of new faces here, getting into the activity, and they all love it.
“Someone told me that the lighting was here and I decided to come and have a look. These young people on their boards and bikes are getting plenty of exercise and having fun.
“I’ve seen them using the car parks because I live near one of them. If they had permanent lighting here they wouldn’t need to be in town.”
Now, thanks to the success of the project, the Partnership is seeking funding to be able to provide lighting on a permanent basis in the future.
The youth workers involved said: “The young people have been great. They have been of different age groups but have mixed together well and they have engaged with us too. Some of them have asked us about career paths, training and other activities available.”