A Widnes professional skater has called on skating bosses to improve ice skating facilities and to promote better awareness to safeguard the sport’s future.

Rachel Contini, the manager of Widnes Ice Rink in Merseyside, has targeted the Sports Governing body, British Ice skating: “It’s time to act. It’s getting better facilities in this country and seeking out kids with talent. We see a lot of kids in here that are naturally gifted but they just can’t afford to learn professionally. If you could pinpoint those kids young, and the governing body could sponsor them right to the Olympics.”

New Figures released by the UK English Ice Hockey Association reveal there is currently only 54 Ice Rinks in the UK for a population of 68 million, not even one rink per million.

Widnes Ice Rink, the only rink in Merseyside.

Contini, a professional for over 10 years concedes ice rinks are expensive to run, and there is a lack of potential coming through: “We are not producing Ice Skating champions anymore. Until we can put somebody on a podium, nobody will be interested in Ice skating. Once someone is winning medals and creates that excitement around the sport again, no one will want to know. An Olympic skater from Liverpool would really put this place on the map.”

Television and social media play a huge part today and decreasing coverage is showing a rapid decline in interest for the Sport.

British Olympic Gold medallists Jayne Torvill and Christopher Dean have attempted to revive their hit TV show Dancing on Ice, involving a range of celebrities and influencers to promote excitement around figure skating – including Liverpudlian Drag Queen The Vivienne.

Contini says while this is a positive for  the revival of Figure Skating, it is seasonal: “We see a surge in January when dancing on ice is on and around Christmas time. But the rest of the year is really quiet. It only spikes seasonal interest. We need to keep that going all year round.”