Plans for a modern skateboard park in Tong have taken a massive leap forward as community sport across Scotland is set to improve thanks to almost £700,000 of investment from sportscotland’s Sport Facilities Fund to local partners, including Tong Recreation Association.
The Isle of Lewis project Is one of nine projects across Scotland to receive investment from sportscotland to develop their facilities or create a new home for sport and physical activity.
The project has received £50,000 of investment to provide a modern skatepark providing an alternative to the traditional sports already on offer in the local area.
The new skate park is designed to assist beginners, allowing them to develop good basic skills before progressing in the sport.
The Tong Recreation Association consulted with young people and their communities and there was clear demand for a skatepark.
Access will be free and there is a plan in place to provide regular coaching sessions to engage young people, particularly women and girls, which is a huge growth area for the sport of skateboarding.
The total cost of the project was earlier reported to be £65,000 and there already had been successful local fundraising including an Edinburgh marathon run by Tong Recreation Association Chair Kathryn Lamont Smith. Around £10,000 came from Crown Estate funding.
The Tong Residents Association have been working with Skatepark experts, The UK Ramp Co, on the proposed design for the skatepark as well as consulting with the local skate and surf communities.
It is an open scheme which flows as one space, encouraging a good flow and a good balance of being both accessible and fun, yet progressive and challenging.
The aim is to provide social opportunities and increase participation in sport and physical activity right at the heart of the local community.
Chief Executive of sportscotland, Forbes Dunlop, said:“The aim of the Sports Facilities Fund is to support sustainable and inclusive projects with their ambitions of using sport and physical activity to enhance the lives of their local communities.
“The physical and mental health benefits of sport are well documented, but equally important is the ability to create a space where everyone is welcome to participate at their own level.
“Despite a challenging financial climate, Tong Recreation Association has demonstrated real commitment to ensuring that more people on the Isle of Lewis will have an opportunity to become physically active and connected to their local community."
Welcoming the investment, Kathryn said: "We are so grateful to sportscotland for their support of the Tong Skatepark project. Without their help, guidance and financial backing the project would never have gotten to this stage.
“This project is a celebration of what a local community can do when they come together and recognise the need for new and improved sport facilities. So many people have worked hard to see the Tong Skatepark become a reality.
"We have to give special thanks to Duncan Chalmers of Archicosm Architects for his unending support to create a new and innovative project for our island.
“The skatepark will provide so many new opportunities for people of all ages to come and enjoy a new way to get active."
The Sports Facilities Fund prioritises projects that widen access to participation or allow people to progress further within their chosen sport locally by removing barriers, particularly in rural areas or areas of deprivation, and for under-represented groups.
In addition to the investment, projects can benefit from the expertise within sportscotland’s facilities team to maximise the impact that their plans will have, ensuring they meet the needs of their local communities now and in the future.
The only other investments in the north of Scotland are:
- Inverness Caledonian Thistle Community Development, Inverness - £100,00 for creation of a community football hub
- Avoch Community Rowing Club, Avoch - £79,000 to build a new boathouse