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Last Updated: Sunday, 22 April 2007, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
Hand-built skate park cuts crime
Chick Mailey
Mr Mailey funded and built the park himself
A man who hand-built one of Britain's biggest indoor skate parks has been credited with cutting reports of local youth disorder by more than a third.

Chick Mailey built the Unit 23 park in a former whisky warehouse in Dumbarton to give his sons somewhere safe to go.

The park's 8,000 members now flock from all over Scotland to use its massive ramps and bowls at weekends.

A study by Strathclyde Police found the park, which has received no public funding, reduced youth crime by 35%.

Mr Mailey said he insisted on a "code of honour" which required youngsters to leave any territorial or gang affiliations at the front door before they were allowed in to skate, BMX or roller blade.

Graffiti-covered

He also helps organise everything from concerts and breakdancing classes to street football with the help of west Dunbartonshire youth support group Pulse. Youngsters wanting free tickets for Pulse events have to visit a local police station to collect them.

Mr Mailey said the scheme had helped break down barriers between teenagers and the police.

The plant hire owner funded the graffiti-covered park entirely by himself and built it with the help of other local parents.

skater
Hundreds of young skaters use the park every week

He said: "We are one of three indoor skate parks in Scotland but the only one which hasn't received any public funding.

"It was actually my kid's idea. Both of my sons were seriously injured playing in the street. There was nowhere for them to go so I built them a skate park. My dad would have done the same for me.

"I know a lot of people are anti-skateboarding and anti-youth but a serious amount of support needs to be given to organisations like ours."

This weekend, Unit 23 will host the second day of Scotland's biggest skateboard competition. The first day is to be held in a new skate park in Aberdeen which was built at a cost of 2.7m.

Mr Mailey said there had never been a fight in the four years that the park had been opened. He operates with relaxed rules apart from a strict ban on alcohol, drugs and cigarettes.

He said: "There is a real camaraderie between the users as they don't want to spoil what we provide them with. They are all like-minded and are just here to have a good time.

"We can have over 100 kids in here on an average Friday or Saturday night and even although we bring thousands of other kids into the area there is still a reduction in youth crime."




SEE ALSO
Long-awaited skate park kicks off
24 Feb 07 |  Tayside and Central

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