Todmorden’s new Wheelspark Officially opened
Bank Holiday Sunday saw the new Wheelspark in Centre Vale Park full of activity as the Wheelspark was officially opened by MP Craig Whittaker, accompanied by Todmorden Mayor Town Cllr Pat Taylor, Todmorden Town Councillor Chair of Resources Committee Denis Skelton and Todmorden Town Deal Board Member Tony Lawson.
Paying tribute MP Craig Whittaker said
“I am incredibly honoured to open the Todmorden Wheelspark for many reasons. This vision started in 2014 with Todmorden Town Councillor’s Margareta Holmstedt and Christine Potter who have been working on this since then, it is also down to Cllr Denis Skelton, Leader of Todmorden Town Council who has led on this project. There has been good collaboration from Todmorden Town Council and also the Todmorden Town Deal the body which is putting together plans to spend Todmorden’s £17.5m Town Deal Fund so thanks there go to Pam Warhurst, Tim Benjamin and Cllr Silvia Dacre the co-chairs and of course Calderdale Council whose help, guidance and assistance have been invaluable as has the involvement of the Environment Agency
Mr Whittaker also welcomed the involvement of The Collective, a group of 18-25 year olds engaging formally with youngsters to put forward their views as part of the wider Town Deal Board youth engagement work.
Shannon Jackson from The Collective, who helped with the promotion of the event said “As under 25s from the local area, we are delighted to have supported the launch of the new Wheelspark. The Town Council have done a fantastic job in pulling plans together and creating a new legacy of positive change for young people and families coming out of the pandemic
The day itself saw a wide range activities being carried out with many users getting the chance to take part in competitions with many being awarded prizes for their efforts.
Team Rubicon were engaged by Todmorden Town Council to start the day with lessons for beginners in one part of the Wheelspark, whilst other more experienced users continued to show their expertise, followed in the afternoon by some high- flying tricks provided by advanced users from Team Rubicon.
The morning session saw some very young children having a go on their three wheeled scooters intently following the actions of the coaches ,as best as they could, as they mingled with slightly older children in a family fun day out for all.
Nayar Hamid & Daughter Amelia Islam (4) said “It’s been a lovely day. The coach was excellent. Amelia was scared to go on the Wheelspark at first but after some training she loved it”
Adam Davidson & Daughter Anna Falcus (8) “It’s been a really good event, the coaching session today has really helped Anna’s confidence and she will definitely come back”
Dawn Chapman & sons Arthur and Albert
Dawn said “It’s been really good to watch the event today and great to see boys and girls taking part”
Arthur said “Today I’ve learnt to lean forwards and not backwards on my skateboard”
Julie Pardoe and daughter Isla (9) Isla “Today was really fun. I learned how to stand on a skateboard which I have never done before and I’d love to do it again”
What was really good to see from the very start was how all users were respectful of each other and these thoughts were echoed by Diane Naylor, Grandson Joshua Naylor (9) and Laura Maguire, Joshua’s Mum
Diane Naylor said “I walk past this site a lot and have watched the Wheelspark being built. One thing I have been impressed by is the respect that the kids using the park have shown each other, I have seen lots of older children helping younger children and showing them what to do. I even like to see the graffiti and it would be great to do something to make this a feature of the Wheelspark like they have in Hebden Bridge”
Joshua said “I’ve learned some new tricks today and it has inspired me to keep coming back and learn more”
The layout and design of the Wheelspark involved several youngster in helping to identify what they would like to see as part of the final design and two of those involved, Charlie 12 and Harvey 12 ,were there on sunday Harvey said “We were both part of the User Group that helped to design the skate park and we worked on the street section at the front with the A-Frame and the rail”
Charlie said “This project has really changed life in Todmorden, it is getting more of us outside and of our X-boxes”
Geoff Else of Team Rubicon “I really like the design of the Wheelspark. The jump box is a great feature, it’s really nicely spaced either side and it’s good to have the street features arranged as they are at the front of the park. There is something for everybody here, for all abilities”
Dean Hewitt and Mike Hullock – demo riders with Team Rubicon When asked what they thought of the Wheelspark Mike a BMX rider with 12 years of experience said “I love it. It’s a really versatile park and it’s great to see new parks being built in the North, lately most new facilities have been in the south”
Dean who has been scootering for 11 years said “I think it’s great here, the park has something for every ability”
Cllr Denis Skelton on behalf of Todmorden Town Council said “We are delighted to see this fantastic project completed on time and on budget. Made possible with the support of Calderdale Council, the Town Deal Fund and funding from central government in addition to funds from Todmorden Town Council, the Park has been a massive success with the youth of the town already and is constantly busy”
As the formal event drew to a close around 3.30pm the age group moved up a gear as many adult users joined those teenagers remaining at the Wheelspark well into the evening.