A SMALL band of volunteers in Forres have been using their time in lockdown to restore a skate park to its former glory.
Mike Robertson and Adam Wilson, from the town, have been venturing down the former skate park, which is now an unused basketball court, behind Forres Academy once a day since lockdown was imposed.
The pair, who are helped out by friends and generous locals every day, have been clearing moss, glass and weeds from the court in order to create a safe space for themselves and others to skateboard.
Mike, who owns board-specialist shop ESP in Elgin, said: “I’m normally at work six days a week but with lockdown I have time to get some exercise and have some fun.
“We want to be away from people. If I’m on the street then I have to be conscious as the sound of the board can be frightening for kids, older people or animals. So I thought I would go back to where the skate park was when I was growing up.
“There was moss and glass everywhere. Thirteen years it has been there doing nothing – it’s a waste of space as it is.
“I put it to a couple of friends, who grew up with a skate park there, and said I was going to hack away at it. A few people have helped, but it’s mostly been myself and Adam.
“Now the space can be used for something, if people want to play basketball that’s great – hopefully people use the space now it’s available.
“It would be great if some of the younger kids saw what we were doing and came and took part. I know my nieces and nephews have boards but nowhere to use them.”
While the concrete basketball court is a starting point in terms of giving skateboarders in Forres somewhere relatively safe to enjoy themselves, Mike hopes it is far from the end.
Forres Skate Park Initiative is still on the go and, ultimately, the end goal is to have a purpose-built skate park in town.
Mike has been on the group’s committee for 15 years.
He said: “We still don’t have a skate park and that would be a magic thing to have.
“The preferred option is somewhere purpose built, made of concrete, built to be used and last.
“People tell me not many people skateboard, but where are you supposed to go?
“I get shouted at all the time and I’m almost 30! If I had a skate park then I would be there. Kids don’t get into skateboarding because they will get into trouble.”
A skate park might remain a dream, for just now, but the group do have a portable ramp in storage and there is hope Forres Academy will get on board and allow them to put it up on the basketball court.
You can keep up-to-date with Forres Skate Park Initiative on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/SkateForres/.