£60,000 to create Olympic legacy

Vision: Simone Cowgill and Scott Ward at the ARC Skate Park where improvement work is underway
Vision: Simone Cowgill and Scott Ward at the ARC Skate Park where improvement work is underway
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Two parents vision of creating a safe skate park after their son was attacked in the street has been realised thanks to a £60,000 grant.

Andrew and Simone Cowgill have received the funding from an Olympics’ legacy cash pot to give their ARC Skate Park a facelift.

The couple are spending the money to revamp the facility on School Street, off Bow Lane in Preston city centre.

Work has already started as part of a phased programme which will see the overhaul completed within the next month.

Simone revealed it was an attack on the couple’s son, Luke, now 21, while roller-blading on the street as a teenager which sparked them into putting £60,000 of their own cash behind the plan.

She said: “Luke was very into roller-blading but the only place there was for him and his friends to go was on the streets.

“When he got attacked, Andrew and I were saying there should be somewhere that young people can go and skate, roller-blade or bike safely, that is what spurred us on.”

The couple were supported by fellow trustee, Scott Ward, who has also put £20,000 of his own money into creating the facility.

The facility already attracts more than 500 youngsters, aged from six years old up to those in their 30s, from throughout Lancashire every week.

Now, the grant is being used to revamp the ramp system to offer more facilities to in-line skaters and skate borders alongside the BMX and scooter riders already using it.

Andrew Cowgill said: “We are completely revamped the ramp system in the building.

“At the moment, the surface goes from a wooden ramp onto a metal base plate and then a concrete floor, as part of this new system it will be a smooth, wooden ramp from start to finish.

“We are going to do the work in three phases, so there will always be two-thirds of the place will always be open at any one time.

The park has been awarded £50,000 from the Sport England Inspired Facilities fund and a further £11,200 from Thomas Cook Awards.

Inspired Facilities is focused on making it easier for local community and volunteer groups to improve and refurbish sports clubs or transform non-sporting venues into modern grassroots sport facilities.

It is part of the £50m Places People Play led by Sport England to deliver a legacy for the London Games last summer by increasing mass participation in sport across the country.