Young people at Central Forest Park Skate Plaza, in Stoke-on-Trent, are set to receive a huge boost with the news that Stoke-on-Trent City Council has been awarded a grant of £25,000 by Barclays. The money will contribute towards an extension to the skate park, which, when finished, will comprise an additional set of ramps and grind rail with the overall aim of increasing usage of the facility.

The new funding for Central Forest Park Skate Plaza follows previous grants totalling £45,000 from Barclays and the Football Foundation since 2006. These grants were used to run regular weekly coaching sessions, recruiter volunteers and offer participants opportunities to get professional qualifications.

Barclays Spaces for Sports is a community sports programme which uses the power of sport to help young people develop the confidence and skills they need, and revitalise disadvantaged communities. As part of this scheme, Barclays partnered with the Football Foundation to deliver the award-winning £67m facilities investment programme which has developed 200 community facilities across the UK, that cater for a wide range of sports.

Carol Gibbs, Strategic Manager for Environment, Waste and Fleet at Stoke-on-Trent City Council, said, “This funding combined with the Section 106 funding already secured, will allow us to provide a new facility to enhance the popular skate plaza, encouraging new users while adding fresh challenges for existing skateboarders.”

Ruth Smeeth, MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, commented on the new grant, “Central Forest Skatepark was one of the first of its kind in the UK and is a fantastic facility. This funding is a huge boost and I’m thrilled the park and the local community are getting the recognition they deserve. Schemes such as this make a real difference and I hope these improvements will help Central Forest Park to go from strength to strength, and encourage more young people to get involved in great local sport.”

Paulette Cohen, Head of Global Programmes, Barclays, said, “We are committed to ensuring the long-term sustainability of all Barclays Spaces for Sports sites and the additional funding that Stoke-on-Trent Council has received is a strong example of this. This is one of over 200 UK sites where we work with our partner, the Football Foundation, offering financial and non-financial assistance so they can continue to have a positive impact in the local community.”

Experts at the Football Foundation work closely with each site to identify their needs, and provide practical help such as advice on how to draw up new business and marketing plans and establish new local partnerships.