On a roll! Bright new future for York skatepark as skaters take control

The skaters have taken over the zoo – and they’re planning to ramp things up.

It means a bright future for Zoo Skatepark, long the home to anyone on scooter, skateboard and rollerblade wheels.

Zoo Skatepark Launch Party
  • Sat Jul 14 @ 11am-2pm
  • Zoo Skatepark, Foss Bank
  • Free
  • More details

In an innovative move, City of York Council have handed control of the Zoo Skatepark to a new company jointly run by Craig Whitehead, rollerblader and founder of the Yorkshire Bladers group, and Andy Simpson, MD of the York-based social enterprise, BrightSparks.

And they are launching the new era with a free party on Saturday (July 14), with local skaters invited to come and try it out.

Refurbished and modernised

Mark Murphy doing a frontside 5-0 grind at Zoo – photographed by Jonny Long
Under their company Zoo Skatepark Ltd, Craig and Andy have ensured that the skatepark will stay open to young people and skate sport enthusiasts from across York.

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The managers have already refurbished and modernised the skatepark and have plans to make it accessible to an even wider range of skaters – including disabled users – as well as provide an alternative education offer for young people not in education, employment and training across the city.

The revamped Zoo Skatepark offers supervised and supported sessions and birthday parties with experienced and qualified skate sports staff at hand who are first aid trained and ensure safe and supervised sessions.

The skatepark also has a refurbished cafe and seating area providing hot and cold food and snacks for parents and skatepark users.

Destination for all

Live music and skate sports exhibition events are also on the agenda – as well as children’s summer holiday camps to provide families with an exciting and fun way to keep young people active over the summer holiday periods.

Operations director Craig Whitehead said:

Zoo is the only indoor skatepark in York and we know that parents value knowing their children and young people are skating at a safe and professionally-run skatepark.

We also know that there is a strong and growing community of people that love participating in skate sports and we want Zoo to be the destination for all of these users.

Cllr Nigel Ayre, executive member for leisure and culture at City of York Council, said:

We are really excited to be entering into this new agreement and to have secured the future of this city centre skatepark.

Bright Sparks have some inspiring and welcome plans about how they will develop the provision to be more inclusive and, in the longer term, self supporting.