Why is Marple Skatepark here and how was it funded?

In 2022 we hooked up with RTIME Outreach Youth Worker Earl Nanton, who spent some quality time in the park over the summer engaging with younger park users and organising activities and events. Earl told us something we hadn't realised - that there is a new generation of young skatepark users who are not aware of our involvement in the skatepark.

A touch of "What did the Romans ever do for us!"

Earl convinced us we should do something to address this and explain to users how much effort Friends of the Park and others put in to achieve what we have at Marple Skatepark today.

We worked on a solution to this over the autumn and winter months and came up with a potted history that hopefully explains our involvement and the fantastic support that we had from Stockport Council, skatepark users and the wider Marple Community. We added this to a large new sign for the skatepark, along with a list of the main project funders.

Marple Skatepark Sign

The sign was installed during our first task day of 2023. It is mounted high-up to avoid risk of injury to anyone crashing into the fencing if a manoeuvre goes wrong, or being damaged in the same way. It includes some photos from the launch event during Marple Carnival 2017 and some key numbers to call in the event of problems.

Here's the full text of the sign, which was printed for us by HB Printing based in the Goyt Mill:

Why is Marple Skatepark here?

A small skatepark was first built here in the year 2000 by Stockport Council after successful lobbying by a group of local enthusiasts*.

Marple Skatepark Development Project (Phase I: 2011 - 2017)

In 2011 Friends of the Park joined forces with members of that group and other local skatepark users to lead our biggest project to date: to upgrade and extend the existing skatepark facilities in the park. Working together we gained the support of Stockport Council, local councillors, local organisations and businesses, Marple Hall School, local primary schools and the wider Marple community.

We consulted extensively with users and residents to develop the scheme and in April 2015 gained planning permission to build a new £100k facility. We started fund-raising in November 2012, and with huge community support from local groups, businesses and individuals, raised over £50k of funding by the end of 2016. This was matched by Stockport Council from funding called “Formal Sports Commuted Sums”. Later a grant of £11,750 was also awarded by Life Leisure, enabling us to complete some essential extra improvements too.

Construction of the skatepark extension began in February 2017 and was completed in time for a small launch event on Easter Monday 17 April that year. A larger celebration event was held as part of Marple Carnival on Saturday 17 June, when we engaged a team of professional skateboarders, scooter and BMX riders and an in-line skater to give demonstrations, run competitions and lead training sessions for skatepark users. A great way to celebrate completion of the project!

Marple Skatepark Project (Phase II: 2017 - 2021)

The skatepark extension built in 2017 was well received by the local community and Friends of the Park hoped to build on that success and keep the momentum going: to improve the top section of the skatepark and to refurbish the dilapidated basketball court. This would turn it into a new Multi-user Games Facility (MUGA) and complete rejuvenation of the existing teen sports area in the park.

We showed early plans at the 2017 Carnival but design, planning and finding funding took much longer than expected. Planning permission was eventually granted in October 2018 and around the same time allocation of a “Formal Sports Commuted Sum” of £85,000 raised from the building of new homes on the Hibbert Lane College site provided the funding needed to deliver the scheme.

In the spring of 2019 we thought things were finally coming together: we had planning permission and we had the money. What else could go wrong? Well first we listened to some minor comments from users on the design for the top section and decided to do something about them. This turned into a much bigger job than expected and we ended up reworking the layout over the summer so it had to be submitted to planning again in August 2019. After another long wait it was finally approved in October 2019 and we'd somehow lost another year!

The winter passed quickly and as we entered spring 2020 we thought we had it all nailed down at last, announcing that we would start on site on 6th April and were planning to complete both skatepark and MUGA works in good time for Marple Carnival.

But we didn't allow for Covid-19 of course! Works were delayed until May 2020 and mostly completed by September that year. Final touches went on until May 2021 with some extra works partly funded by the Vernon Building Society.

10 years of effort by Friends of the Park!

So it's thanks to Friends of Marple Memorial Park working with experienced local users* and the support of Stockport Council and the local community that the skatepark you see is here today. We're currently focused on other projects in the park but will never say never to a Phase III in the future. We hope to support Marple Youth Project with a new Skatepark Art Project soon too.

We're happy to talk to users about new ideas.

Read more about Friends of Marple Memorial Park: https://www.marplememorialpark.org.uk
Read more about the project on Facebook: https://facebook.com/marpleskatepark
Learn about all our projects: https://www.marplememorialpark.org.uk/projects.html

How was it funded?

Total Budget: £111,750; Stockport Council: £50,000; Life Leisure: £11,750; Community Funds: £54,213

Friends of Park: £19,927; Forever Manchester: £4,000; Marple Area Committee: £3,300; Stockport Homes: £3,274; The Marple Website: £2,516; Skatefest Music Nights: £2,103; Co-Op Community Fund: £1,700; Ring o' Bells Quiz Nights: £1,688; Local Schools / Bag Packing: £1,658; Community Group donations: £1,466; Local business donations: £1,386; Family Treasure Hunts: £1,343; Marple Carnival Awards: £1,300; Marple & Goyt Valley Rotary: £1,185; Private donations : £1,039; Art Auction: £856; Marple & District WI: £600; Romiley and Marple Lions: £550; Rotary Club of Stockport: £500; KC Dowling (Author): £464; Sponsored Beard Off: £434; Hatters Pub and All Things Nice: £420; Marple Fire Fighters: £400; William Wragg Charity: £400; Charity Bike Ride: £380; Marple Bands: £325; Art from the Park: £263; ASDA Chosen by You: £250; High Lane Garage: £250; Recon Cycles: £235.

Glass on the skatepark or safety issues:

Council call-centre 0161 217 6111 or Emergency help line 0161 474 5555

* We decided not to include the names of any individuals on the sign at the park but we would like to acknowledge here the efforts of local skater Lewis Abbott and friends Ben Meek, Paul Rogers and Ciaron Walton, who were instrumental in establishing the very first ramps in our park way back in 2000. Also, and especially, to Lewis Abbott for his amazing support, guidance, expertise and enthusiasm throughout Marple Skatepark Development Project Phases I and II.