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YOUNG people, whose vision of a state-of-the-art skate park is within grasp, have spoken about what the facility would mean for them.

The Riot Urban Sports Park committee has been raising awareness of the £500,000 project planned for Tumble, in the Gwendraeth Valley.

It is still early days but the Tumble Park project received a huge boost last month when Carmarthenshire Council chiefs agreed to cover up to half the cost.

Project manager Christine Davies is busy talking to skate park designers and preparing funding applications to groups such as the National Lottery and Sport Wales.

Skateboarding will make its debut at next year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Committee member and project ambassador James Dexter, who is from Tumble, said the skate park would help give young people in the area a better quality of life.

“It will make a massive impact for us,” he said. “It will be for beginners, up to Olympic standard.”

The 24-year-old said the village was pretty central in Carmarthenshire and the wider area.

“It’s not too far for people to travel – you can catch a bus here,” he said.

James got into skateboarding nine years ago after working his way through other sports.

“They (the other sports) just didn’t interest me, and then skateboarding came along,” he said.

“I had to put in a lot more effort. It’s much more enjoyable.”

He is also drawn to its aesthetics and universal appeal.

“You don’t have to speak the same language to appreciate people’s skillsets,” he said.

The skate park would cater for scooters and BMXs, and have obstacles for parkour practitioners.

It would also be designed to encourage as much use as possible among people with disabilities.

Ms Davies, who runs a business in Carmarthen, said the Tumble Park project would have ancillary benefits.

“In Tumble there is quite a big problem with anti-social behaviour, particularly in the park,” she said.

“Skateboarding really helps young people’s mental health.”

In a Facebook video, committee chairman Kalem Thomas said the skate park would also be for parents and the wider community.

He added: “It opens up a lot of doors for young kids.”

BMX rider Finn Evans, who also appeared in the video, said his bike made him feel free.

If he felt depressed, he said, he went to a skate park and “the problem is gone”.

“It does help with anti-social behaviour,” said Finn. “It gives teenagers somewhere to go, something to do.”

The nearest skate park in the area is Haverfordwest, Pembrokeshire. Separate proposals have been put forward for a seafront skate park in Blackpill, Swansea.

Committee member Luke Maddox said the Haverfordwest skate park was often “ram-packed”.

Luke, of Carmarthen, said the committee was raising its profile in different ways.

“We’re looking at clothing, and getting our brand out there,” said the 23-year-old.

Despite plenty of enthusiasm in the Gwendraeth Valley area, the Tumble Park scheme had a blip when no young people attended a meeting a while back to discuss it.

That prompted ward councillor Emlyn Dole, who is also the leader of Carmarthenshire Council, to challenge young people to fill the chamber at County Hall one Saturday morning.

“They did exactly what I wanted,” he said. “We saw that day the commitment they had, the buy-in, the vision, and what it does for the Gwendraeth Valley.

“This is a post-industrial, deprived area which has missed out on so many things.”

Cllr Dole did not debate or vote in the executive board meeting in which the £250,000 funding recommendation was approved.

He stressed the offer was contingent on the skate park committee and its supporters securing the rest of the funding required.

The committee is named after the Rebecca Riots – a series of protests in West Wales between 1839 and 1843 against road tolls and general economic conditions.

If all goes to plan, it is hoped that work could start on the skate park next spring.

“We’re getting there,” said Cllr Dole. “We think there is an urgency about it.”

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