Like it or love it, Oban skatepark needs you

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Oban Community Skatepark wants people to join the ‘likes’ of famous stunt biker Danny MacAskill and give its Facebook page the thumbs-up.

The more ‘likes’ the page receives, the more it will help ramp up funding from major backers, said skatepark chairman Mark MacQueen this week, as the project gathers momentum – so far it has almost 400 likes.

Despite Covid nearly all but halting progress,  the people behind the project are excited it is moving again and picking up pace having enlisted the help of top wheel park producer Alan Jones, who has already delivered successful sites across Scotland.

Funding is also being secured for a £12,000 feasibility study that will include public consultation, size up demand and needs, investigate construction possibilities and look at a number of central sites in the town that would be easily accessible for all reaching across a wide-spectrum of people who could use it individually or safely with others in Covid times.

So far a chunk of funding for the study has been promised from the MacQueen Bros Charitable Trust, a bid has also gone in to Oban Common Good Fund, which will be decided next month, and an application is on its way to Scottish Sea Farms’ Heart of the Community Grant Trust.

‘If we fall short, the skatepark has done some limited fundraising so we have a small pocket of savings in the bank we could use to invest, but when the study comes back that’s when full-on community fundraising will start,’ said Mr MacQueen.

Depending on its size and form, a skatepark will cost hundreds of thousands of pounds to build and big funders will want to see just how much support the project has from its community.

‘They will look at what the community has raised. If we are not prepared to put our hands into our pockets it becomes difficult to fund large scale projects like this.

‘So we will be asking people to help us raise some of those funds because it will be an expensive project but something that they can do for us right now is go to our Facebook page and like it.

‘Danny MacAskill is already a supporter. We need this visual support from our local community. The more likes we get then the better it will be for us to show to potential funders,’ said Mr MacQueen, who said the skatepark vision was for it to be an inclusive and positive place with young people engaging with others from inside and out of their own community.

It could also open up more commerce-boosting opportunities for the town, attracting visitors and chances for new businesses selling equipment, clothing or even lessons, he said.

And added: ‘We are keen to have it in a central location so we’re not seen to be hiving off young people into a corner. The skatepark will be a place of inspiration and positivity not anti-social behaviour. It will be a place that promotes health and well-being and where young people will learn from each other.

‘Talk of a skatepark for Oban seems to have been a frustrating non-starter for a number of years but we are keen to progress it. It’s early days but we are moving in the right direction. With the community behind us, we will achieve it.’

Add your voice by visiting the skatepark group’s Facebook page to join the campaign