SEVENTEEN-year-old Shaun Mcsharry fell in love with skateboarding during lockdown last year and has now started a campaign for better facilities to support the sport in Dunoon.
Shaun told this newspaper: “I was really bored and wasn’t able to meet up with my friends so I went online and ordered a skateboard. I know a lot of people who did the same.
“I’ve only been doing it for a year but it’s definitely something I want to pursue and get better at.
“You fall down a lot, that’s all part of it. It can be dangerous, but the danger is part of what makes it so exciting.”
While Shaun admits that danger comes part and parcel with skateboarding, he feels the current state of the skateboard park in Dunoon is creating unnecessary dangers.
The Skate Park in Dunoon was opened in 2005, as a direct result of a campaign and development work by young people, supported by local youth workers, however, little upkeep has been carried out on the facility since.
Shaun continued: “It’s a death trap. It’s not even an accident waiting to happen because I already know multiple people who have hurt themselves because of the ground. I know people who have broken their elbows, I have sprained my ankle really badly, it swelled up to the size of a football, most of my friends have been injured at least once.”
Shaun believes a lot more people would get involved with the sport if the facilities were safer.
Research carried out by Dunoon Area Alliance in 2019 shows that a significant number of children and young people would be interested in using an improved skatepark.
A survey of three local primary schools found that 85 per cent (419 pupils) would use a multi-games court, 79 per cent (386 pupils) would use a new skate park and 66 per cent (322 pupils) would use a new bike park.
Dunoon Area Alliance estimates the Skate Park requires £200,000 in investment.
Shaun set up his petition last week and so far, has the support of over 200 people.
He said it started out as a ‘dumb dream’ but now believes he and a small group of friends could really make a difference. They are currently doing lots of research into the costs of repairs, as well as different fundraising options.
They hope to get 500 signatures on their petition before presenting it to Argyll and Bute Council along with the rest of their findings.
You can find Shaun’s petition here.