Youth group reveals plans for a wheel park

PLANS to build a ‘wheel park’ in Rothesay are moving closer thanks to the efforts of a group of young people in the town.

With money from the Scottish Government’s ‘Cashback for Communities’ scheme, along with a donation from Rothesay Academy, a new group called SK8 Bute are working hard to continue fundraising in the hope of providing skateboarders, rollerbladers, BMX bikers and anyone interested in wheel sports, with a place to go.

There have been several proposals over the years to have a skate park built in Rothesay, but those hopes never came to fruition.

However, SK8 Bute - who are working in partnership with Project Playpark - are determined that their project will not fail.

We met up with some of the SK8 Bute committee members at the Moat Centre this week to find out what stage their plans are at, and what it is the group would like to achieve.

Local youth worker Ann Kennovin told us: “The money from Cashback for Communities, which is £1,073, will be put towards a 13 week programme which the young folk can get involved in, like grafitti art, designing their own wheel park out of modelling clay - transferrable skills, basically.

“We also need to carry out surveys to see whether there really is a need or desire on the island for a wheel park, and after that, we need feasibility studies.”

Nicola Jones from Project Play Park told us: “The council originally quoted £716,782 for a skate park at the Meadows - which would make it the most expensive skate park in the whole of Britain - but we reckon we can do it for around £100,000.

“We’ve chosen a plot of land, we need to get the surveyors in and then it’s on to a planning application, but we’re some way off that stage.”

Aware that some in the community may have concerns over anti-social behaviour, we spoke to three of the group’s members - chair Lee Hampson, secretary William Boag, and Callum Cameron - about why they’d like the park, and why they think it’s needed.

Lee told us: “We don’t walk about the town at night because we want to, it’s because we have nowhere else to go.”

William said: “There is nothing in Rothesay for us - if we don’t go for it now, it’ll never happen.”

Callum added: “I know people think because it didn’t happen before, it’s going to fail. That’s why they don’t support us. But that was then, this is now.”

The group has applied for charitable status, they have a bank account and a constitution in place, and on the evening we met, were writing a letter to the manager of the Co-operative to ask for a bag-packing slot.

Ann added: “These guys are who it’s for, and they’re the ones who are putting in the work for this - we’re just pointing them in the right direction of what they need to do next. It’s all down to them.”