Skateboard England has expressed concern over the impact of coronavirus on skateboard parks ©Dean Atkins

Skateboard England has called for Government to work with local authorities to speed up the release of business support grants and encourage landlords to work with flexibility to ensure skateboard and BMX parks can survive the coronavirus pandemic.

The organisation says approximately 75 indoor skateboard and BMX parks in the United Kingdom are delivering sport and physical activity opportunities to more than a million children and teenagers a week through skateboarding, BMX and scooting.

Skateboard England adds many of the parks are either charities, community-led organisations or not-for-profit businesses.

With the coronavirus lockdown halting daily entry fees and grant funding, parks have little income to operate with.

Grant support has been announced by the UK Government, which Skateboard England has welcomed as a lifeline.

However, the organisation has said it is currently taking too long for those grants to be received by the skateparks from local authorities.

It is claimed that without immediate financial support many skateparks could have to close permanently within the next three to four weeks.

"Many skateparks are faced with the harsh reality of no income for a long period and without immediate financial support, face closure," said Lucy Adams, Skateboard England chair.

"This would be devastating to their local communities.

“Many skateparks are working with vulnerable children as alternative education centres and running community projects, such as providing food to disadvantaged families and running initiatives to reduce food waste.

"We know from our discussions with skatepark operators that the grants need to be released from local authorities much quicker and landlords need to be more understanding, otherwise we face wholescale closures of skateparks across the country.

"This is why we need crucial action and support from Government at this time."

British Cycling has backed the call for immediate support ©Getty Images
British Cycling has backed the call for immediate support ©Getty Images

Skateboard England says one skatepark operator was told that more than 3,000 applications had been received by its local authority, which could only process 170 a week.

It is claimed this could mean that by the time the grant is approved and received, that skatepark and many other businesses in that area will not have survived and will have already closed.

Andy Farr, British Cycling’s head of business planning and transformation, has also backed Skateboard England’s call for immediate support.

"The Government support and sector-specific support from Sport England is hugely appreciated and absolutely essential to the survival of a large number of our facility providers, including skateboard and BMX park operators," Farr said.

"However, short-term cashflow is causing significant problems across the sector and we would urge local authorities and landlords to work with us and our operating partners to ensure we can sustain their businesses and be in a position to support all of the young people who benefit from these parks, once we are able to resume activity.”

Skateboard England has highlighted the importance of skateboard and BMX parks, due to their social impact and programmes on mental health and education for high-risk children.

The organisation added that the parks help to keep thousands of children active.