Barnet Post

Barnet Post

At least in Montrose I can skate

Skaters call on council to invest in skatepark

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Local resident and skater Faze at Montrose Skatepark
By David Mendelsohn 04 October 2021

As a skateboarder, I feel very fortunate to live in an area with easy access to skateparks. The newest skatepark in Barnet is in Montrose Playing Fields and the park is especially good for beginner and intermediate riders of all ages. Notably, the park has a warm and friendly skateboarding community that has grown significantly in size since the park first re-opened in 2019.

Skateboarding is experiencing its biggest renaissance since the early 2000s when the sport first exploded into the mainstream. This can be attributed partly to the Covid-19 lockdowns. With all attractions closed and international travel becoming problematic many people young and old decided to try skateboarding for the first time. If you speak to any of the local skate shops, they’ll happily tell you that business was booming for them at the start of the pandemic with many new customers buying their first skateboards. Go to your local skatepark and ask how many people are just starting out and you’ll be surprised to see how many there are!

In addition to growth during the pandemic, the inclusion of skateboarding in the Olympics for the very first time saw widespread coverage of the sport in the national media and press. With Sky Brown taking the bronze medal for Team GB it’s clear that this upward trajectory for skateboarding in the UK is only just beginning.

Faze, a local resident who also regularly uses Montrose skatepark said: “Montrose is a really special place. The park only opened recently and so many skaters all started around the same time. The vibe in the park is friendly and welcoming and everyone is just trying to get better and help each other.

“That’s not something you’ll find in other skateparks. It’s also really good for the local youth to have a safe space to hang out and meet other people, especially when considering that Colindale and Burnt Oak are low- er-income areas. These developments help raise the community and deeply enrich the lives of the local residents”.

With this massive growth in the number of skateboarders, Montrose Skatepark sees significant footfall with skaters coming from all over Barnet and beyond. As such, the skatepark often suffers from overcrowding and there are several maintenance issues that need to be addressed. So we decided to do something about this.

Montrose Skatepark offers something for all levels of skateboarder.

Spearheaded by the local skateboard brand Onda Skateboards and with help from representatives from the neighbouring Unitas Youth Zone, a meeting was called to address some of the pressing maintenance issues with the skatepark and also to discuss potential expansion of the skate area. In order to get the attention of Barnet Council we created a Mega Edit video for Instagram. This was a crowd-sourced project where local skaters uploaded video footage of themselves using the skatepark to the Onda Skateboards website. The short clips were then compiled into one video titled the Montrose Skatepark Community Edit.

The skate edit was successful in getting the attention of the council and it wasn’t long before Matthew Gunyon, the Service Manager for Greenspaces, agreed to meet at the skatepark to discuss our concerns. The meeting was in August and was well attended by almost every- one from the local skateboarding community. It was amazing to see parents and guardians there too, demonstrating that this grassroots campaign has wide-reaching benefits. We had the opportunity to discuss the drainage issues that plagued the park during rainy periods and the potential for floodlighting so that the park can be used more during the winter evenings. Perhaps the most important thing we learned from Matthew is that we need to bring as much positive energy to this project as possible, the council, he said, can do the rest!

We also learned of redevelopment work that will be taking place in West Hendon and the greenspace there is also likely to include a skate- park which will hopefully be even bigger and better than Montrose.

We want as many people involved as possible and right now there is no better time to start skateboarding. It’s so easy to get started and all you need is a skateboard, some protective gear, and a good attitude. There are even local skateboard schools providing group or private tuition with a Skateboard GB qualified instructor.

We recommend the Keep Rolling Company run by Rachael Sherlock who is also involved in the Unitas Youth Zone by the skatepark.

If you want to get involved in this project, follow @ondaskate on Instagram where they’ll be posting regular updates on the progress.

Also, come down to Montrose Playing Fields and join our thriving community. See you there!