The Mill’s roots started in Easter 2011, when we began meeting at Roman Sqaure in Sittingbourne High Street to sociaise and practice our sport.
We were eventually moved on by residents, and our new home became the Wyvern.
As popularity of the sport grew, we often had up to 30 people meeting in the area. Once again, we was asked to move on.
In October 2011, we was invited to the Local Engagement Forum. Over 10 of us attended the meeting, and we was expecting tobe told that we just had to move on again with no advice.
Instead, everyone understood the situtation and James Walker of Swale Commuity Voluntary Services suggested that instead of just asking for a place to go, why not ask for a permanent skate park to be built.
This had never crossed our minds, but it seemed so obvious.
James offered his own time to help get the project moving and became an integral part of the project in its early days.
The Sittingbourne Skate Park Fund (SSPF) was born, chaired by Matt Wakeford and included other members such as Jordan Rogers, Nathaniel Spacey, Daniel Green and Dave Green.
The group’s original plan was to ask the council for a peice of land to be made available in Albany Park for the construction, but the residents living around the park weren’t happy with this proposal and so the idea was shelved. Shortly after this, Matt Wakeford moved away from Sittingbourne and stepped down as Chairman, though remained as part of the SSPF. A vote was taken and Jordan Rogers was decided upon as his replacement.
A section of land owned by Essential Land was acquired, outline planning permission was sought and a number of grant applications were written, bringing in around £50,000 for the project.
The name of the project was changed to The Mill Project, as the land acqired was on the site of Sittingbourne’s former Paper Mill. The biggest win for the project came in March 2015, when the Swale Cabinet voted unanimously to award the project £200,000 on the conditions that a trust was in place to run the project and a viable business plan was submitted and approved in order to sustain the project into the future.
After sufering major setbacks with a trust that was going to run the project, Patrick Cantellow of Swale Young People CIC, at the time, offered his help and the project began to gain momentum again.
Finally, an agreement was made with Brogdale CIC to be the trust that takes the project on!