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How does the partnership between the sports trust, Youth Connexions and Dacorum Borough Council work? The partnership is about ensuring we achieve the key aims of the project. These include the need to ensure that more young people, particularly the most disadvantaged, have exciting and safe places to go where they can get involved in a range of activi- ties to support their personal and social development and get access to informa- tion, advice and support services.

How does the centre meet with users’ demands? It's about providing a hub of adventure, excitement and challenge in a place for young people to ‘own’. There's a cool edge to XC and customers, as well as staff, want to be part of something unique. The additional elements of cav- ing and high ropes was fundamental to the core provision to enable a wider group of people to participate at XC. We got the local skatepark users in-

volved in the creation of the park to ensure we provided something totally unique. Some of the more experienced skateboarders were very vocal in

their design ideas – thus the 9-foot- deep skate bowl was created.

How popular is the facility and how is it marketed? Current footfall is around 10,000 a month, although this number rises sig- nificantly in holiday periods. The skatepark has been an unprec-

edented success, however, the climbing section has been a slower burner – perhaps due to the fact that there are a number of local climbing facilities. Although we have a (fake) real rock sec- tion, which has brought in climbers from further afield, we recognise the need to attract new local people to the activity. _ Our marketing is ongoing, we have

support in the specialist skateboard press and we are on the climbing forums as well as the British Mountaineering Climbing site. We've hosted a couple of skateboard events – both of which at- tracted competitors from Europe and the US. Our next plan is to develop climbing and bouldering competitions too. The demand for children’s parties and

group bookings is flourishing. We’re cur- rently hosting around 80 parties a month and group bookings for schools, social clubs and corporate activity has also started to take off, which means that there are rarely any off peak times.


What’s your background? I’ve been a skateboarder since I was 15. I’m now approaching 40 and still skate as much as my body allows. I’m the UK skateboard team man- ager for Vans – the biggest skate shoe company – and I’ve been involved in run- ning and judging UK-based skateboard events for the past eight or nine years.

How did you get involved with the XC project? I was contacted during the tendering process about running skateboard events at the centre and sat in on the user group meetings to check that the building de- sign was in line with what was needed in order to hold successful events.

Why does XC fit the brief for major skateboarding events? Compared to other skateparks – many of which are located in dark, dirty warehouses on industrial estates – this purpose-built building offers an indoor concrete area in a venue that’s bright, clean, new and offers good food in the café area. It's also close to London, there's great transport links and plenty of hotels in the area.

What events are hosted at the venue and how are these marketed? We ran the UK Skateboarding Champion- ships in October and the Vans Concrete Carnival in December last year. We flew in X-Games winner Rune Glifberg from Denmark and legendary 80s/90s Santa Cruz pro Eric Dressen from California for the Concrete Carnival.

30 Read Sports Management online

I checked that the building design was in line with what was needed for skateboard events

These events attract around 500 visi-

tors – including 100-150 competitors. You tend to get two tiers of skateboarders at these events – the guys like me who’re deeply involved and know everything that’s going on and the kids with skate- boards who want to skate every day. Although we promote events through

Sidewalk – the only UK skateboarding magazine/website forum – social media is a very effective marketing tool. I have over 2,000 friends on Facebook, so just one message is accessed by 2,000 people.

Issue 1 2012 © cybertrek 2012

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