The Dorset Echo is delighted to announce The Front Skatepark in Weymouth as our official charity of the year.

A grant of £1,000 was awarded to the charity as part of The Gannett Foundation's grant scheme. The foundation makes grants to registered charities which bring benefits to the local communities served by Newsquest’s news brands, typically granting modest sums for practical projects, but will also consider larger ideas.

The skatepark is an extreme sport facility, located on Preston Beach Road, where young people can enjoy skateboarding, scooting, BMX and Skates. It features a large outdoor wooden skatepark, with a range of ramps from beginner to extreme.

Dorset Echo: The skatepark will offer free sessions to local youthThe skatepark will offer free sessions to local youth (Image: The Front Skatepark)

Lisa Kille, manager of the skatepark, says she is delighted to have received this on behalf of the charity and will use it to offer free sessions to residents aged six to eighteen years old within the DT area during term time.

She said: “A lot of families can’t afford regular payments for sports clubs, and we want to make sure all from Weymouth and Portland area have a chance to try a sport. Skating can be a nice, creative sport and you don’t have to rock up at a particular time or wear a kit.

“It is lovely to be chosen. It was a proper community effort to get it won. It was lovely to see all the parents get together and get forms filled in on behalf of the charity, it shows what we’re doing is making a big difference.”

The skatepark was originally set up to 2001 offering a safe community social hub for local youth in the area. According to Lisa, the charity has always focused on “keeping teenagers off the street” as a way to combat anti-social behaviour from youths in the area.

“A lot of parents love this safe space. Teenagers like coming here and there’s been no trouble in the skate park itself. Parents love dropping their kids off down here as they know it’s a safe space.

“There’s always been a problem with anti-social behaviour in Weymouth and it’s nice to see teenagers have places to go where they’re not caught up in any trouble.”