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Grimsby’s Kent Street skate park transformed by YMCA Humber

A skate park in Grimsby has been refurbished and transformed.

In August, YMCA Humber bought the Kent Street skate park from North East Lincolnshire Council along with disused multi-use games areas (MUGA). Refurbishment of the skate park and the conversion of former changing rooms into a safe, welcoming space for young people was completed only a couple of weeks ago.

It has had underpasses reinforced, floorworks, new rails and benches put in after feedback from skateboarders, and has been decorated with wonderfully vivid graffiti art. Local artist Lynsey Powles produced the artwork for it, and art sessions were also held with kids.

It is the first phase of the Kent Street site’s transformation. YMCA Humber recently filed a planning application to bring the play zones back into use that have been disused for 11 years.

Rob Baty, YMCA Humber’s head of operations, said the refurbishment of the MUGAs is expected to take eight to twelve weeks. Depending on when permission is granted, the aim is to reopen them this summer.

Work to the skate park and old changing rooms was done in eight weeks, longer than expected because of rainy weather. A skate jam event was held on April 12 to mark its reopening, with over 100 people attending. The skate park is a beloved facility, which garnered over 1,500 signatures to a petition in 2020 when its future was in doubt.

“It surprised me how much use it got, it’s been here over 20 years,” said Mr Baty. “The youngest I’ve seen was a three-year-old, with their dad, and the oldest was 60.

“The YMCA bought it, and said let’s donate it back to the community. So it’s free of charge, it’s a community asset. The whole site will be.” The office of the Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner and the YMCA have funded phase one.

Talking about the increasing popularity of skateboarding, Mr Baty added: “There’s a lot more interest, a lot more youth since it’s become part of the Olympics.” It became a recognised Olympic sport for the first time in Tokyo. BMXers use the facility as well as skateboarders.

The former changing rooms have been turned into a community space, including pool tables and comfy chairs. There is also a small kitchen to enable provision of free drinks and foods for kids who attend events. “We have got over 320 youths registered in East Marsh with our youth club, predominantly 8-16 years old.” Mr Baty said.

He added there had been reduced anti-social behaviour in the area in the last two months as well, which he believed the new facilities for young people helped towards.

A host of different organisations have been worked with by YMCA Humber for the Kent Street site’s overall transformation. The likes of PL Kicks, Grimsby Town Foundation, Netball England, Hockey England, the local futsal league, and the Football Foundation have all been worked with. The latter is also helping fund the proposed MUGAs refurbishment.

The community has taken to the project too, with local skate groups among those consulted ahead of the works as well. Mr Baty said people have been donating skateboards for people to use, adding YMCA Humber had bought equipment for people too.

The skate park will be open all the time, and has floodlights. YMCA’s youth club can be signed up to by visiting the YMCA, or popping down to Kent Street on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from 4pm.

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