Skate park brought back to life

Bringing a disused service back into use   -  By Emma Bird

By Faisal Hussain

“Our area is fairly run down to be honest. People don’t really respect the area and don’t really look after it. They don’t think it’s their responsibility either, so they just add to the rubbish. I don’t think they’re proud of the area.

Compared to other areas round here, we really don’t have much have facilities. So, for kids there’s not much to do in this area. So, we all started thinking about the community - just looking at what we had in the area – what resources we had.

We came up with the idea of doing up the skate park. We went and had a look and it just didn’t look like it was finished. There was grass around it, but that had all died. And it was just dirty to be honest. Dirt gathering in the middle, cos nobody is going out to clean it. We thought to be able to get it working again would be a good thing for the area.

We needed money for the renovation of the skate park – for the equipment and materials – and we didn’t have any. We put in an application for Pitch4Change and we were amazed when we got accepted. We got given business mentors from a marketing company called Life Agency to help us prepare for Pitch4Change. I enjoyed the mentoring session from Life. I was expecting them to be all suited and really straight forward, but they were just like us - they were just normal people.

We did the presentation together and then our mentors told us what would be good to include and where to shorten it. They helped us see what was relevant and what wasn’t."

The Small Heath Envision team at the renovated skate park"After we got the money we were pretty pleased, as we were one of the only teams that got everything we asked for. I think we got it because all our numbers added up and because it was a big project to pull off – I think we probably did need a bit more money than £500. But we decided to find a way to raise that.

We weren’t as organised as we should have been. We should have given roles to people as some things were getting done and some things just weren’t. We got them done later, but if we’d got them done earlier it would have been better for us. After 4 months of planning and organising we finally finished, just in time to launch it at a community event in June.

It was crazy looking back at what we did and who we’ve met. Once we started with Envision you just start to realise more about what’s out there and start to really think about the area. Me, living in this area, I thought it was pretty bad, but once we did Envision and looking at the community - it’s really not so bad. It helped me realise how people actually do care about the community. Cos I didn’t really know that before.

For me, working with our business mentors was one of the best things. It’s important that you get to meet these kind of business people, because there’s not really anything else like it. We haven’t really had any opportunities like this at school and I think it’s been really good for us.

I want to go into business and listening to how I can improve what I do in the future was really helpful. It’s good to have experiences like this before you go into the big wide world, so you know what to expect, you know. You get to look at what we’ve done and what we shouldn’t have done, the mistakes that we’ve made, we can take those on board as well."