Frontside Gardens was chosen by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and Tower Hamlets Borough Council as the winners of a competition to make use of a temporary site in Hackney Wick. By reactivating an unused space, using reclaimed and waste materials, Frontside Gardens will become a flexible event space for family use. It will start with a skate park but the plan is to incorporate facilities for small music and film events.
Location: Hackney Wick, London
The skate park facility can be used by BMX riders, scooter riders and skate boarders. The programme includes specific session times for each of the user groups as well as open sessions for all users to participate together.
Initiator: LLDC call for proposals.
Project Duration: 15th September 2012 onwards.
Lead in Time: 2 months
Site Area: 1000m2
Client Team: Frontside Ltd, LLDC, LB Tower Hamlets
Project Team: Frontside Ltd, their network of friends and supporting organisations.
Currently no funding for the project. Hackney Wick Festival provided £950 funding for the 2 day launch event in September 2012. The launch therefore offered free coaching sessions and skate workshops.
Time creating and managing the park is given purely by volunteers who are offering their time in kind. Some private funding was invested by Andrew Willis through Frontside Ltd.
Project Costs (Build):
The materials to build the skate park were free of charge through donations and using reclaimed and recycled materials. The project used material from LOCOG which was previously used on Horse Guards Parade for the beach volleyball court facility for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Project Costs (Operation):
At present the park is staffed by volunteers therefore reducing operating costs to zero. There are no costs to use the park.
Permissions / Permits:
Frontside Ltd has a temporary lease and contract for the site. It was required to apply for planning permission in order to develop the site further. It also holds a premise licence which provides cover for holding events and playing music.
Tower Hamlets BMX club who supported the launch event.
Victoria Park skate park user group who set up a positive graffiti project in the facility.
Publicity/advertising: Flyers, Word of Mouth,
Site Details & Ownership: Site owned by LLDC & leased by Frontside Ltd who manages the facility.
Project Reach / Visitors / Target Audience:
The open day event engaged lots of people from the local community as families, groups of friends as well as individuals. The park was designed and marketed in such a way that it would attract young people from the local communities. The majority of users are aged between 15-26 years. The younger age group tend to be skateboarders while BMX activities are bringing in the older young people aged 20+ years.
Even though these activities are more attractive for males than females; a number of young women and girls attended the launch event and have since returned. A targeted women and girls programme is being considered as a way of engaging more female participants.
Problems Encountered / Overcome:
Due to there being no funding for the project it is delivered entirely by volunteers meaning the park is only open when volunteers are available to manage it. An outdoor facility will always provide challenges with the changing weather. The facility cannot be used in wet weather; skate boarders need the surfaces to be completely dry before they can take part.
Feedback from users / staff:
Local people have expressed a demand for more local facilities such as this. The project has been a huge hit with young people in the area providing them with positive activities on a regular basis.
In other areas skate schools / coached sessions have been very popular and can be a good income generation method to support the facility.
Project Website / Further Info: