Skating on Ice to new Skateboarding, Scooter and BMX Park!

Michael Lilley Mayor of Ryde with Declan Brooks cyclist Olympic Bronze Medallist

From ice rink to bespoke skateboard and BMX park: The rise of Ryde’s community-focused charitable trust (

Out-going Ryde Mayor, Cllr Michael Lilley, has been working hard behind the scenes to establish a Ryde Community Development Trust for the past year. The aim of the Trust is to build strong infrastructure support for local community groups, social enterprises and initiatives.

The Trust will be officially launched at a fundraising gala and auction at Ryde School on Saturday 13May at Ryde School. Michael has been busy having talks with local businesses and organisations such as Ryde School, Grace’s Bakery, Hovertravel, Ryde Town Council and University of Portsmouth to get support for the trust and agree on its initial projects.

The Charitable Trust has been developed through an existing Ryde charity – Wight Ice Leisure. This was originally established by the Isle of Wight skating and ice hockey community with a dual purpose:

  • to campaign for the former Ryde ice rink to re-open
  • to support young IW skaters and ice hockey players to continue to train on the mainland and compete

The trustees felt the existing objectives of the charity, supporting the local community and advancement of sport, could be used to develop wider projects and initiatives across the Town.

Cllr Michael Lilley states:

Wight Ice Leisure (WIL) was a charity formed by the Ryde Arena Community Action Group (RACAG) which was a significant residents’ action campaign to save the Ryde Ice Rink, a much loved facility in Ryde with huge impact on young people in the Town and across the Island. The founders of the trust had the foresight to develop a charity that had objectives to support the wider community of Ryde and have worked with Ryde Town Council in forming Ryde Community Development Trust”.

Robbie Jones of WIL and now a trustee of RDCT states:

The Ryde Arena was a vital community asset that RACAG and WIL tried to save and we supported an ice rink to be established at Smallbrook but this sadly was not achieved. I was a young Ice Hockey player and the Arena gave me opportunities in life that without the Ice Rink I would not have had. It was a stepping stone to going to University and my job at one of the Big Four Accountancy Firms. The new revitalised Trust will now support all Ryde residents to access support and opportunities”.

Ryde Community Development Trust will continue to support the skaters and, whenever possible, all Ryde young people that need to travel to mainland for excellence training in sport as well as establishing greater opportunities in the Town.

One of the first projects is to work with Ryde Town Council, IW Council and the local skateboarding community to cooperate on a brand new, extended, improved and bespoke skateboarding, scooter and BMX park on the esplanade in Ryde.

Recently, Cllr Lilley (the first Chair of the new Ryde Community Development Trust) met with Declan Brookes, British BMX Olympic medallist, at Portsmouth University to get his support. Ryde Town Council has a partnership agreement with University of Portsmouth and along with Ryde Community Development Trust will be working on developing sports and community facilities in Ryde.

(Picture of Michael and Declan at opening of new Revlan Sports Centre in Portsmouth)

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