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Personal Statement from Robert Ridge Regarding The Trick Factory.
At the End of this month of May The Trick Factory will close for the summer and will cease to operate at its current location.
This is in accordance with the wishes and instructions of the owners of The St. Michaels Trading Estate, Hayward & Co.
As the manger of TTF on behalf of myself and many others who have benefited from the use of the facility I wish to extend my gratitude to Hayward & Co for allowing TTF to operate, especially in recent years by allowing concessions to the facilities increasing operating costs, without which, the facility would have struggled to continue for as long as it has. When my team and myself took on the venture back in 1999 we had no idea it would run for as long as it has. I recall personally thinking “I’m in my late 20s & may not have too much time left in the sport/recreation of BMX so lets throw caution to the wind and go for it”. For the next several years’ people travelled from far & wide to use the place as well as serving the local “small wheels” groups (BMX/MTB/Hybrid bikes, skateboarders & inline/roller skaters).
Back then, it was the only indoor facility in Dorset and still one of only a handful in the South West presently.
From around 2010 the landscape had changed a little, and for mostly positive reasons (unless you are responsible for the finances of running an indoor skate park). Local areas were having skate parks constructed, excellent examples nearby are those of Dorchester, Weymouth and most recently Lyme Regis. This is great for locals who live close to such a facility, it would mean you don’t necessarily have to travel to places such as TTF. The one major flaw though is these are mostly outdoor facilities and the curse of the British weather. Even so, the last half dozen years has seen TTF (like many indoor activity centres) lose most of its audience/users over the summer months – to the extent that in order to meet the costs of running the park it would have to be downsized (ironically in the winter we could make a much larger space pay its way such is the need for all-weather, or “bad weather” facilities being in demand).
Thankfully we were permitted to continue until now on a revised reduced rent.
I have raised the above point as well as the fact that from the inception of TTF the landlords advised me that at some stage development of the land to which TTF has occupied would happen at some point in the future. Though I am disappointed that our current operation has to come to an end I want to demonstrate here and for others to understand that I do not feel I/the users of TTF have been treated unreasonably.
There are people lobbying/campaigning for the Trick Factory to remain active in The Stover Building (its present operating premises on St. Michaels Trading Estate). If these efforts are successful in persuading The Landlords to permit operation of TTF to continue then we will happily continue. To date this looks like an unlikely outcome.
Myself and supporters of TTF are now looking at what options may be available to continue to run an indoor skate park facility in the Bridport area and hope to have something up & running later in the year. Now that circumstances have impacted on TTF I make this call to anyone or anybody that can help/facilitate a future for an indoor skate park facility in Bridport.
On a personal level I will be taking time off (my first summer not “tethered” to TTF since 1998) to have a small holiday, pursue some other small projects and assist in my partners rehabilitation from serious surgery due to recent health issues.
Once again thanks to all who have provided their input over the years.