What is london road gateway?
The London Road Gateway Project is located in Fishwick, Preston an area which suffers from extreme pockets of deprivation. A Police and Community action group highlighted that a number of youths were destroying the local landscape to make BMX jumps which led to complaints from local residents. It was clear that young people in Fishwick had nowhere to ride BMX safely and the local feeling was that the area was often neglected over other parts of the city.
Pre investment studies by Barclays Spaces for Sports highlighted a lack of diversionary activities for young people that led to large numbers of youths congregating at points within the ward. Due to the lack of activities a gang culture was prevalent which intimidated local residents.
The local police believed the lack of investment at London Road was contributing to a decline in community spirit and that the opportunity of building a BMX track would engage local young people and galvanise the community spirit.
The investment by Barclays Spaces for Sports contributed to improved sports facilities in Preston incorporating BMX racing with the aim to ultimately motivate and inspire local people to participate in sport.
Developing activity and skills
Preston Pirates BMX Club have a number of volunteers covering a wide variety of roles at the club. Through a number of qualifications gained the club now have community members volunteering as race day referees to officiate at club meetings. This has allowed the club to host a number of events at the site which have been supported by first aid qualified volunteers within the club.
Preston Pirates BMX Club are working to implement and improve polices, procedures and practices to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for children and young people in cycling. These sessions concentrate on various parts of BMX Racing from Start gate practice, cornering and jumping with the club catering for various abilities from the beginner to the more accomplished rider.
Impact to date
Preston Pirates have had a significant impact on its local community. Since the club introduced its coaching programme local crime figures have fallen, such as:
violent crime down 4%
robbery down 7%
burglary down 10.4%
vehicle crime down 16%
The club have worked closely with the local community to integrate all cultural backgrounds and it is felt that their activity provision has contributed to these reductions.
The success of the project is evident as the London Road Gateway has recently been selected as an Olympic training venue for 2012 which Olympic athletes will use prior to the games. The club is in the process of further improving the facility to ensure that the site meets all of the Olympic venue and athlete requirements for the 2012 Olympic Games.
The standard of the track has helped the club to develop many people into champions. So far the club has developed:
Preston Pirates have invested over £10,000 into the development of the track to bring it upto national standard by making the track both challenging for the more experienced riders and still achievable for the novice rider to start out in BMX. Numerous volunteers have been involved in the development of the track but has been led by one main person who developed and designed the track, the club Vice Chairman and World Champion Tony Fleming.
User experiences - Mark Huddart
I used to race BMX back in the 80`s and after seeing an advert in the local paper advertising the facility on London Road I decided to take a trip down. I gave up BMX Racing due to family and work commitments and I never considered getting back into it until I saw the advert.
When I went down to the track with my children I was greeted by numerous friendly faces. I was informed that the club could hire me and my kids a bicycle each along with all the protective clothing including helmet and pads. From that day I have reinvented myself as a BMX Racer and my kids have become hooked as well.
After a few weeks of being at the BMX track with the kids my wife decided to see what all the fuss was about and joined us at the track one day. She enjoyed it that much that she now helps out as a volunteer at the club. The club has developed a real family atmosphere within it with numerous families getting involved on supporting the club.
User experiences - Abi Brookes
“I joined Preston Pirates BMX Club 10 months ago. I went down to the track not knowing what to expect and being a girl didn’t know if it was a girl friendly sport. When I arrived I was very warmly welcomed and introduced to another girl rider who I was told would be my mentor. I was shown the track and run through the basics of riding a BMX track. I was then taken to a part of the facility for my mentor to assess my ability on a bike. After 30 minutes I was competent enough to attempt the track. When I was on the track my mentor talked me through all the things I needed to remember whilst going round. I really enjoyed my first time at BMX and have since progressed into Regional and National riding with the club. I am also a member of their junior committee which enable s the younger members of the club to express themselves and have their say.”