Unit 1 Skatepark, also known as the ‘Rochester Indoor Skatepark Club,’ is a registered charity that was formed in 2007. We started out as a skateboarding charity, taking over the lease on the Unit 1 Skatepark building in 2008. Since forming we have evolved into a supervised venue for skateboarders, scooters, bmx and inline, where young people can improve their skills as well as socialise in a safe environment.
In recent years we have been made aware of the lack of family support experienced by some of the young people that attend our park, which has led to our involvement in helping link homeless youth with relevant authorities, or food banks and even rehabilitation centres. The lack of accommodation for those just over 18 years of age in Medway and the surrounding area has made this very difficult. We have, therefore, been looking into the possibilities of homeless shelters or rehabilitation centres and are liasing with other organisations to this end.
As many of our young people often struggle finding employment, we have forged links with the Princes Trust and often help them to complete work experience programmes with us, including Duke of Edinburgh schemes, to help with their employment prospects.
We receive little or no funding towards the high running costs on the building, however, in recent years young people from Medway Youth Trust have chosen to support this charity as they see the work we do with young people without the help of consistent Government funding. They have fundraised for us on occasions and helped with artwork in the building and also promoting the park through their own social media. They have massively helped us and we really value their support!
We were affiliated to the charity ‘Young Kent’ to obtain CRB checks, insurances etc through them. Since their closure in 2018 we now obtain all our DBS checks via Medway Borough Council.
In response to our requests for help with much needed refurbishment to the park we received generous grants from Sport England, Kent County Council and the Peter Harrison Foundation in 2019 so our vision for an improved skatepark facility could become a reality. We have also received generous funding from Cllr Peter Homewood from Tonbridge and Malling District Council for our PA/sound system and protective padding in our beginners area.
Kent Community Foundation have also recently given us funding for new helmets ad skateboards again so that we can offer the facilities to scout groups, homeschool groups, special needs groups, youth clubs and schools. The Richard Watts charity as well as Kent Community Foundation have also given us funding for ramp refurbishment.
We are also members of Skateboard England and operationally work alongside Skateboard England to maintain safety and protocol standards within the park. In 2019 Tracey Crouch, former Minister for Sport and MP for Chatham and Aylesford became our patron. We are so proud to have her support and recognition for everything we do in the local community.