Mayor gets his skates on at launch of revolutionary urban sports park


It’s time to get your skates on and let the good times roll in Newtownabbey.

Expert skaters from Great Britain have showcased their skills at the official launch of Skate 100, the new £750,000 EU PEACE IV funded urban sports park at the Valley Leisure Centre on Saturday May 7.

The 14,000 sq ft facility, which is poised to welcome skateboarding aficionados in their thousands, is one of the largest of its kind in the UK and Ireland, according to Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council.

A team of experienced and passionate urban sports experts from all over the world worked together on its design and installation, creating a space that’s suitable for skateboards, scooters, inline skaters, Parkour and BMX freestyle.

The growing demand for urban sports and an increased awareness of the importance of health and wellbeing were key factors behind the project.

Skate 100 is set to welcome more visitors to the council area, while also attracting further investment to aid economic growth in the area.

The Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Councillor Billy Webb MBE – who cut the ribbon to officially launch Skate 100 – said the “ground-breaking” sports park was an “exciting development” for the area.

“It’s been expertly designed to attract urban sports enthusiasts from near and far and it’s another fabulous asset within V36 Valley Park,” he said.

“The local community will reap the rewards from this shared space as it will accommodate urban sports for many years to come.

“I’ve met some users of the skate park and have been delighted with their rave reviews and amazed at their passion for their sport.”

Skate 100 at the V36 Valley Park is a project supported by the European Union’s PEACE IV Programme, managed by the Special EU Programmes Body (SEUPB).

The Council aimed to create a shared space for the diverse communities near the Valley Park, which is an extensive area of land between Bawnmore and Longlands and Rathcoole.

The project aims to encourage young people to engage in an active, healthy lifestyle, as well as embracing the urban sports culture, whilst having the added benefit of enhancing and expanding an existing shared space and providing additional activities for local communities in the surrounding areas.

Chairperson of the Antrim and Newtownabbey PEACE IV Partnership Councillor Paul Dunlop BEM thanked the project funders who helped “this exciting facility come to life”.

“As in every other aspect of life and society, the COVID pandemic had a huge impact on our PEACE Programme, with the maximum impact felt on the capital projects which had not yet commenced.

“I, along with my PEACE IV Partnership colleagues, are very grateful to the funders, the SEUPB, who worked closely with council staff to find a solution and the result is the fantastic Skate 100 park, which will be a lasting PEACE IV shared space legacy for Antrim and Newtownabbey.

“I wish all the users, present and future, many hours of fun and many lasting friendships made.”

Match-funding for the project has been provided by the Executive Office in Northern Ireland and the Department of Rural and Community Development in Ireland.

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Councillor Billy Webb MBE gets his skates on at the launch of Co Antrim’s revolutionary £750,000 Skate 100 urban sports park at the V36 Valley Park. Pictured alongside the Mayor are skaters Anna Gibson, 11-year old Logan Dougherty and BMX rider Ryan ‘Hendo’ Henderson.

The local community will reap the rewards from this shared space as it will accommodate urban sports for many years to come. 

Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey Councillor Billy Webb MBE