AT the kind invitation of Nikki and Rob Taylor, I last month visited The Lodge Indoor Skatepark in Wharf Road following a recent grant award by Newton Abbot Town Council, writes Police Advocate Cllr Mike Joyce.
The husband-and-wife team have overseen the charitable facility since its foundation in 2014.
In addition Rob operates the commercial Pro-Cycle Centre which is incorporated within the complex. He sells and repairs cycles and skateboards.
The Lodge is unique in our area.
With the support of many local businesses and individuals, it has gone from one BMX ramp to a large indoor skatepark catering for scootering, skateboarding, online, roller skates and freestyle BMX.
The weekly timetable consists of sessions for women and girls skateboarding, homeschool community sessions, schools programmes, skateboard nights, scooter nights, open sessions for all wheels, one-to-one coaching and scooter birthday parties.
A few years ago, The Lodge received grant funding from Viridor and a crowdfunding campaign to support its renovation and redesign. It installed a new layout which was designed by users and all was looking good - then the pandemic hit in February 2020.
The inevitable lockdown closures and restrictions took their toll in many ways, but now The Lodge is now fully back with a new time timetable being launched and imminent plans for a renovation of the cafe area and kitchen made possible by the Town Council grant.
Nikki and Rob told me they would like to thank all supporters, volunteers, young people, customers and people that have supported the charity in the 10 years it has been running.
Now they’re in need of further assistance if the covid build back is to be a complete success.
A volunteer day is being planned for October in order to boost numbers and an appeal has been launched for new flooring, paint and supplies, kitchen appliances, LED lighting, new signage and graphic design support.
It strikes me that, with the best will in the world, Nikki and Rob cannot continue to carry on without help to take some of the pressures off.
Discussion have taken place with Rotary with a view to them providing some assistance and possibly funding, and I have suggested further avenues to explore.
The Lodge is such a terrific facility for our town and district, I genuinely hope that the community will rally and ensure its continued existence for many years and generations to come.
We all know what can happen when young people find themselves with nothing to do and nowhere to go.
Don’t let this happen Newton Abbot, get behind this wonderful charity, please.