• Forres Skate Park Initiative

    Forres Skate Park campaigners need community input to carry on

    by David Walker, Press and Journal

    A funky roller disco for all ages is being held in Forres House Community Centre to raise awareness of the Forres Skate Park Initiative. Getting their skates on are, left to right, Sophie Fullard, Franky Haymer, Kirsty-Ann Wilson and Fi Rodger. Picture: Marc Hindley

    Campaigners, who plan to build a Skate Park in a Moray town, have launched an online survey to garner local support and input.

    The Forres Skate Park Initiative want to hear from anybody interested in their project to become involved in the campaign which is just starting to gather pace.

    However, before they can really get going, they are in desperate need of more members to achieve their goal of installing an all-inclusive skating facility in the community.

    FSPI has yet to formally constitute a campaign group, apply for charitable status or gain funding for a feasibility study to support applications for funding.

    That is why they have launched an online survey to gauge the public’s view on the Olympic training facility which would encourage the use of skateboards, roller blades, scooters and bikes.

    Once they have gained enough support, they intend to commission a study that would look at materials, landscaping options and opening times.

    Community development worker Vicky Flood is hopeful that the survey helps the group better understand what the people want.

    She said: “There has already been consultation over this project, however it is still important for funding and covers Moray Council’s obligations regarding Community Asset Transfers.

    “As the Bogton Road site next to Mosset Park was the second choice for a skate park in the Forres Planning for Real consultation, we have sent letters to residents closest to it.”

    The group recently held a popular bright roller disco in Forres to raise funds and awareness of the initiative.

    As of last week, nine people had expressed an interest in joining the group and becoming more involved in the campaign.

    The group has gained the support of FACT (Forres Area Community Trust) and meets in the Town Hall, but it now wants to stand on its own two feet.

    Committee member Fiona Rodgers added: “If we can get people together who can see the potential for an all-year-round skating facility, hopefully we can get the right people on board to make it happen.”

    The survey can be found here.

    Anyone interested should email vicky@forresarea.org.

    FACT working on three projects for Forres

    by Forres Gazette

    During January’s meeting of Forres Community Council, Forres Area Community Trust (FACT) officer, Debbie Herron, talked about the campaign to get a local skate park built, plans for a Community Asset Transfer of the Town Hall and the ongoing digital support service, Forres Online.

    She said: “We have been working to get a new skate park since 2012. With support from AJ Engineering, BAM Nuttall and Forres Tesco, we now have a pop-up ramp currently in use at The Loft in Kinloss.”

    Forres Skate Park Initiative outsource the ramp by arrangement. It is hoped to set it up in Tesco car park in the Springtime.

    Debbie added: “We will work with the 2020 Vision green spaces group to find a permanent spot for a skate facility over the next few years. Fundraising will begin in earnest once we have a clear plan agreed.”

    FACT has approached Moray Council about a CAT of Forres Town Hall and carried out costings for major improvements including raised seating similar to that at Nairn Community and Arts Centre.

    Debbie explained: “We want to have have movable raked seating to enable us to use the space as a open hall for dancing, band practice, coffee mornings etc, and to have seating for things like Film Forres, the panto and youth concert. There could be office space at the far end of the building, a studio and multipurpose area, and lifts at both ends. We estimate the upgrade would cost around £3 million in total.”

    Around 4500 people currently use the Town Hall every week. FACT is scoping support for its ideas among the user groups.

    It is hoped financial support could come from local fundraising, online crowd funding and organisations such as Heritage Lottery Fund, Big Lottery Fund and Big Issue Invest.

    Finally, Debbie appealed for volunteers to help the FACT Forres Online scheme which already provides: free access to computers in a safe and encouraging environment; one-to-one development in customer support and engagement skills; and access to online courses to develop skills gained while volunteering.

    She said: “Forres Online has recorded 610 attendances from 185 individuals/groups over the period September, 2016 to November, 2017. These include people over 55, unemployed and benefit claimants, small businesses, community groups, social enterprises, young families, vulnerable adults and refugees.”

    Last year, FACT was awarded £149,427 to develop its volunteer base, as well as a social enterprise centre/hub to facilitate more partnership working in the area.

    “FACT has 250 members and is free to join,” finished Debbie. “We have a strong board and a sustainable business plan. To get involved, please contact 01309 674388 or vemail info@forresarea.org”