Lord Mayor launches Banbridge Urban Sports Facility


Urban sports fans got their skates on and rolled in from near and far to Solitude Park on Saturday 12 May as the Lord Mayor, Alderman Gareth Wilson cut the ribbon to officially open the long awaited Banbridge Urban Sports Facility.

Under the expert guidance of urban sports coaching facilitators Thunder Action Sports, a host of young entusiasts took to the ramps and enjoyed the trills and spills of Expression sessions in the new facility and got hands on with BMX, Skateboarding, Scootering & Parkour taster sessions in the adjoining amphitheatre.

Speaking at the opening Lord Mayor, Alderman Gareth Wilson said: “I am delighted to officially open this superb Urban Sports Facility. The highly anticipated project has been quite a while in the pipeline but I’m sure everyone will agree it has been well worth the wait.

As a council, it is essential we encourage young people to engage in active, healthy lifestyles and this amazing addition to Solitude Park will certainly appeal to the growing number of young people who have embraced the urban sports culture.

As well as enhancing health provision this new facility will provide a  welcome community gathering space, promoting social interaction that will benefit the young people of the borough for many years to come.”

Performance Manager & Activity Director of Thunder Action Sports, Matt Gillespie said, “This is a great day for urban sports fans, well designed facilities such as this are few and far between and the launch today will be a huge boost for urban sports in the borough. As well as appealing to established enthusiasts Banbridge now has an amazing community resource for attracting new comers and the traditionally non-sporty into an exciting new realm of physical activity.

Jason Taylor from urban sports group Precission NI, who provided valuable input and support for the project added, “We are very pleased with how the skatepark has turned out; especially the impact it will have with younger users now having access to such a facility.  We would like to thank everyone involved with the park from it’s inception and in particular the council’s Sports Development Officer, Gillian Dewart who we worked with over the years to see the project through.”

Following the opening of the Urban Sports Facility further free taster sessions in BMX, Scootering, Skateboarding & Parkour will take in Solitude Park on Saturday 19 May and 9 June from 9am – 12noon. Facilitated by Thunder Action Sports the sessions are suitable for 6 – 12 year olds and all equipment will be supplied. Advance booking is not required simply come along and get to grips with the exciting world of Urban Sports.

The capital project led by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council was designed by Spraoi Linn Ltd and manufactured by leading German company X-Move in conjunction with principal design and build contractor, McAvoy Construction (NI) Ltd.

The 490m2 facility sits within its own enclosure and consists of a variety of features including raised banks and curbs, metal rails, a pocket corner and a wallie penny.

Featuring two levels with a pocket corner and curved bank at opposite ends, the higher central level offers banks on the sides with London gap ledges and a wallie penny with a bank hip and table top on the opposite level. A large area of slab allows room for beginners to practice their “ollies” and to grind on the flat rails and ledges.

The Urban Sports Facility will be free to use for young people aged 10 years and over all year round during normal park opening hours. All users must follow the health and safety instructions which are clearly signposted at the Urban Sports Facility.