Hard work pays off

TWO years of hard work is set to pay off for a group of BMX-loving teenagers this weekend.

A group of Hartlepool teenagers have been putting their backs into some hard manual labour on the town’s skate and BMX park, at Mill House.

Thanks to them, the park has been revamped and the fruits of their labours will be shown off when a BMX skills tournament is held from noon on Saturday.

Between 15 and 30 teenagers will be holding two competitions for beginners and intermediate riders, with bike-related prizes up for grabs from Facchini’s Cycles, of Murray Street, Hartlepool.

There will also be a five-a-side football tournament and other activities on the day.

The event is a multi agency partnership effort between the Families Accessing Support Team (FAST) initiative, Barnardo’s, Hartlepool Borough Council, the Fire Service, Neighbourhood Police Team and Facchini’s Cycles.

The FAST Project is made up of a number of different agencies and groups in Hartlepool including Barnardo’s as the co-ordinating agency.

It offers support to children and families involved in low level incidents of anti social behaviour.

Work first started on the skate park in the summer of 2009 when young people painted the ramps and skating areas with special grip paint so keen skateboarders could get a good run.

The youngsters also worked with community artists, designing some colourful street art to brighten up the area even more.

Leigh Kane is the FAST Co-ordinator at Barnardo’s B76 project, and said: “The youngsters got the idea for this by voicing their concerns about the state of the park to our outreach workers, as they felt the park was rundown and not up to scratch.

“The non-slip paint had worn off the ramps making them hard to use effectively.

“We contacted the local parks and gardens officers at Hartlepool Council, who were happy for the young people to be involved in improving the area and provided technical support and equipment for the project.”

“The boys also got some new seating for the park and worked with a professional artist.”

Anyone wanting more information, or who is interested in registering for either competition, should contact Peter Robinson at the Belle Vue Centre on (01429) 221832, Leigh Kane, at Barnardo’s B76, on (01429) 424222, or just turn up on the day.