Community bid to build Lewis Skate Park

Plans for the first ever concrete skatepark in the Western Isles are moving into top gear this week as fundraisers for the ambitious project laid out their plans.

By Eric MacKinnon
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 10:52 am
Updated Thursday, 27th January 2022, 11:06 am
Artists impression of the proposed skate park.
Artists impression of the proposed skate park.

The Tong Recreation Association (TRA) has revealed hopes for the island skatepark to be created in the village on land owned by and next to Tong Hall and specifically designed to fit the patch of land specified and geared to suit both beginners and expert skaters.

And to help kick off the funding bid for the project, which the TRA expects to cost £65,000 in total, the TRA Chair Kathryn Lamont Smith is preparing to run a fundraising marathon.

She said: “We have spoken to lots of the villagers in Tong, and beyond our community, and the general idea was to try and create something outdoors for teenagers and older.

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The patch of grass earmarked for the proposed skate park in Tong.

“One parent mentioned a skatepark and we discussed having outdoor facilities that could help children and parents alike to be able to exercise and have fun.

"Skateboarding is well known for its physical health benefits so we started exploring the idea of a new concrete park that could be used year round.

"We have a perfect piece of land right next to the Hall and before the pitch in Tong that we could light with floodlights from the Tong Hall in the dark nights and in winter.”

The estimated cost of the project has been earmarked at around £65,000 but Kathryn reveals fundraisers already have £15,000 of their required total.

She continued: “We have £10,000 from the Crown Estate money which is the perfect start for us and we have more bids going in and we are taking donations.

"But I wanted to do something myself too so I’m signed up for the Edinburgh Marathon which will be my first ever marathon.

"I’ve run half marathons before but this will be big and a real challenge for me and the most I’ve ever run.

“We estimate it will be £65,000 all in and we have the first £15,000 now saved for the project.

"We wanted the money in place for the project first to show how serious we are before we move things on more officially.

"We will spend the next six months fundraising hard and hopefully we can make this happen as we are putting our heart and souls into this idea. Half of the money I am raising is also going to Parkinsons UK, another cause close to my heart.”

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 design of the park has been moulded to work with the landscape of the surrounding area without diminishing the surrounding nature.

The community group also help to co-ordinate activities in the hall and around the village.

Project updates on the Skatepark will be published here in the Gazette as Kathryn, and the rest of the Tong Residents Association, have any more news or developments on this exciting new idea for Lewis.