Belfast’s indoor skateboarding, BMX and scooter park
Belfast’s indoor skateboarding, BMX and scooter park

A new and innovative programme designed to help police engage with the local community is set to kick-start in east Belfast. 

Young people are being invited to learn new skills, all free of charge, at The Ramp House – Belfast’s indoor skateboarding, BMX and scooter park.

The initiative, which runs one evening per week over a six-week period, launches this Friday 14 October.

Neighbourhood Inspector Pete Cunningham said: “The project aims to build connections with teenagers, who can be difficult to reach, and help them make positive choices.  It’s an opportunity for young people to come together and socialise in a relaxed setting, to have fun and learn brilliant new skills.  It’s, quite literally, the offer of an adventure.

“As part of each session, we’ll have the chance to meet those taking part and have a chat.  We’ll listen to any concerns, and offer advice on some of the issues currently affecting our young people.”

The initiative is part of the NI Executive Programme on Paramilitarism and Organised Crime. In this financial year the programme has provided a £145,000 investment to policing for the delivery of community safety and engagement projects.

Chief Inspector Joanne Gibson from the Strategic Partnerships and Prevention Branch added: “This project is part of a wider community engagement programme, where we invest in a range of projects in communities across Northern Ireland who have specific challenges. Initiatives such as this give our local officers the opportunity to engage with young people, build positive relationships and break down barriers in an informal setting. This in turn will help police officers to provide a better service to those communities and ultimately help to keep people safe.”