Wheely good ideas come through community action

Southampton opened its first pump track at Sullivan Road recreation area last Saturday 11 March

A ribbon cutting ceremony. The Lord Mayor is cutting the ribbon.

The Right Worshipful Lord Mayor of Southampton joined Councillors, Monty’s Community Hub and youngsters to officially open the pump track.

The idea of a pump track came from Monty’s Community Hub who sought action for more facilities in the Sullivan Road recreation area. They received support from the community, Southampton City Council and match funding from Veolia Environmental Trust’s Landfill Communities Fund.

A pump track is a fun packed series of banked turns, and rollers which is designed to be ridden by a wide range of wheels, from balance bikes to BMX bikes to scooters and suitable for all ages and abilities.

Through engagement with the community and events, Monty’s Community Hub highlighted that the Sullivan Road recreation area was underused space that could be better utilised and enhanced with better facilities.

In 2020, Monty’s Community Hub carried out a survey with the local community to find out how they would use the recreation area, what issues affected that use, whether the area could benefit from more facilities and what type of facilities they would prefer. Almost 100% of the respondents said they’d like to see more facilities for young people and an overwhelming majority said they would like to see a pump track built.

Monty’s developed the idea and made the proposal to Southampton City Council, who then sought £60k matched funding from Veolia’s Landfill Communities Fund. The council then provided support with planning, procurement, and project support to carry out surveys, collate feedback, submit planning applications all the way through to creating a great design in a very short amount of time.

Josh Allen, Bike Hub Manager says:

"It is so exciting to see this project come to fruition, we have been working on this project for five years, through various co-designing sessions with young people in our community, then also running various community consultations and conducting fundraising activities! This track will make a massive impact to families and young people in the community, who often said there was nothing for their kids to do.

"This track will be suitable for children on balance bikes up to adults on mountain bikes so is really for the whole community. There is lots of evidence that pump tracks like this reduce anti-social behaviour as young people will have more opportunities to channel positive energies, can spend more time being active and having fun with their mates.

"We are very grateful to Southampton City Council and Veolia for working with us and supporting this project financially."

Councillor Eamonn Keogh, Cabinet Member for Transport and District Regeneration said:

“We are so proud of the community support to create this space and have been excited to be part of the project with Monty’s and Veolia Environmental Trust. This project supports so many of our key initiatives in the city including health and wellbeing, our work to become a child friendly city all the way to rewilding! Working together has achieved such a huge amount in such a short space of time.”

Andrew Brown, Executive Director: The Veolia Environmental Trust adds:

"We were delighted to be able to support Monty's Community Hub with a grant of £60,000 through the Landfill Communities Fund for the creation of a new community pump track. The track will be open access and free of charge, providing a great opportunity for young people to meet, socialise and exercise. We're also really pleased to see that environmentally friendly design features have been incorporated, including wildflower planting and the use of sustainable materials.”