It has recently been announced that Ryde Arena on the Isle of Wight is set to close on 25th March 2015, unless they can find someone to purchase it before that date.
The Ryde Arena is the only ice skating facility on the island, and is popular with thousands of people. The closest ice rink is Gosport which is a 40-minute boat journey followed by an hour's drive.
The ice rink is the training base for four successful synchronised skating teams, and has more than 200 skaters in their figure skating club. They also have approximately 50 skaters per week taking part in the Learn to Skate programme at present as well as several hockey teams with a substantial following of dedicated fans.
Nikita Heathfield would be one of those affected; an athlete on the AASE programme, helping young athletes to realise their full potential, whose training venue would be taken away if the rink closes.
Nikita said: “I was absolutely devastated to hear the news of the fate of the rink, as the Ryde Arena has practically been my home for the past ten years. I spend 17 hours a week training here alongside a team of young athletes and we would all be affected by the closure of the arena.
“Commuting to the mainland everyday would not be financially viable and as a result, training time would majorly decrease and I would be unable to achieve my lifetime dream of representing the Isle of Wight as a professional at national and international championships. Without the rink, the sport would become extinct on the island.”
Nick Sellwood, Chief Executive of NISA commented: “It comes as disappointing news to discover that the Isle of Wight’s only ice skating facility may be closed, even though it is loved and utilised by many.
“The Ryde Arena has become a huge pillar in the community for locals and visitors alike over the years. NISA will provide practical support to groups or businesses that may wish to take up the option of asset transfer. In the interim, I would urge the ice skating public to sign the online petition”.
Sign the online petition and show your support here