Ice for Island Skaters at Last?
Smallbrook Ice and Leisure Centre - SILC
New multi-sports centre including ice rink proposed for Ryde
used with permission SILC
A planning application has been submitted for the Multi Use leisure facility which will include an IIHF standard sized rink measuring 26m x 56m. It is the intention of Ryde School, who own the land, to provide us with a 25 year lease subject to the use of the facilities by the school children.
The plans for the Smallbrook Ice and Leisure Centre were previewed to a packed room of the Ryde Arena Community Action Group. We’re so delighted with the proposal and give full support to the development which will bring back skating and ice-hockey to the Island along with a wide range of other activities for all islanders.
Many of our young people and their parents and carers are showing great resilience by continuing to skate and play ice hockey on the mainland, but many others, unfortunately, have had to suspend their dreams.
We warmly welcome the rapid development of an improved facility and will campaign to ensure that the Council and national funding bodies give their full support to have the centre open within 12 months.
There has already been rapid progress and we hope that we will see our Island skating and hockey community back on ice soon.
BBC South report on Smallbrook plans 23 June 2019
BBC reports on our Amazing Teams in
"The Skaters without a Rink" - 20/2/19
Community Unites in Support of Ryde Arena to form
Link Around the Rink
on 2nd Anniversary of closure of Ryde Arena
BBC South News 6/10/2018
Thank you to all 300+ people, including our MP, Bob Seely, and local councillors from across the political spectrum, for uniting to form Link Around the Rink 2. It was wonderful to see people of all ages, backgrounds and political affiliations united in support of returning Ryde Arena to use as an ice rink and arena for our community
Photo credit: Isle of Wight County Press
Over two years ago, on the 6th October 2016 the people of the Isle of Wight woke to find themselves locked out of Ryde Arena, our only ice rink. Children expecting to practice their figure skating and train for hockey instead found padlocked doors. Overnight and with no warning, AEW UK destroyed the dreams of thousands of Islanders whose lives have been changed by skating. Since then the rink has been left empty, something the freeholder says is against the lease. It has been left to become an eyesore in one of the most prominent positions on the Isle of Wight. Apparently so little care was taken to secure the building that a door was left unlocked for seven weeks (see video further down page or click here).
Meanwhile an important leisure and tourist facility has been lost, both to the people of the Isle of Wight and to the tourist trade that much of our Island depends on. We are told that instances of anti-social behaviour have increased dramatically since the closure of the rink. We need leisure facilities. We need healthy activities for our young people, recreation for our citizens, facilities for schools, attractions for tourists. The rink was all this and more to the Island.
Without the facilities like Ryde Arena, that give people a place to meet, a place to have fun, a place to learn the value of working hard at something together, a town becomes nothing but a collection of dwellings. And what use are those dwellings when those places in our town which gave quality to our lives are displaced? We don't know what AEW wants to do with Ryde Arena but their website suggests they are hoping for a change of use. Why, when what we desperately need in Ryde are more healthy leisure facilities, when the ice rink contributed so much to the quality of the lives of so many in our community? Ryde Arena often contributed the most to many who could be considered amongst the most disadvantaged in our community. How many facilities can boast that? No change of use could benefit our community as nearly as much!
When Ryde's seafront was designated for leisure use, it was because past generations recognised the value of healthy leisure to the personal development and quality of life of our citizens and also how easy it was to lose such spaces to short term profits. They knew that the way people feel about their town depends as much on public spaces as private ones. They knew that what makes Ryde special is the unique relationship between leisure and our seafront summed up on our town's catchphrase: "Ryde, the town on the beach". Ryde is the first place many people see when they come to the Isle of Wight and the first thing many people see is Ryde Arena, seemingly abandoned and derelict. AEW should be "more respectful of the Island” in the words of our MP Bob Seely.
Frozen Out by AEW?
For news articles about Ryde Arena click here
On the 6th October 2016 the people of the Isle of Wight woke to find themselves locked out of Ryde Arena, our only ice rink. Children expecting to practice their figure skating and train for hockey instead found padlocked doors. Overnight and with no warning, AEW UK destroyed the dreams of thousands of Islanders whose lives have been changed by skating. This site tells their stories as they campaign to reclaim their rink and their dreams.
Shocking Video of Ryde Arena in the News
A disturbing YouTube Video was recently featured in the Isle of Wight County Press and on the Isle of Wight Radio website showing the current state of Ryde Arena. This video is very upsetting to us as it would seem to show that the building has been virtually abandoned by AEW to decay and vandalism.
Isle of Wight Radio and RACAG accept no responsibility for the featured video which is from a third party.