Fundraising ramps up for skate project in Sierra Leone
A Physiotherapist from Hampshire is part of an ambitious project to build the first ever skatepark in Sierra Leone.
Cameron Duncan, who works at Gosport War Memorial Hospital, is the co-founder of BoardersNotBorders (BNB), a charity that uses the power of skateboarding to improve disadvantaged communities, including providing youth outreach, education programs, and dedicated social advocacy initiatives.
Alongside helping patients, Cameron is raising money to support the community of Makomp in Sierra Leone by building a safe and social skateboarding culture and educational centre for residents.
Cameron originally travelled to Sierra Leone on a University research project with a local NGO, The Cotton Tree Foundation Trust. Bringing his passion for skateboarding he taught some of the local people and received an enthusiastic response from the community.
Cameron said: “Having been involved in social skate projects in Ghana previously I decided to take skateboards with me in case I found anyone interested to teach on the side. The community was very enthusiastic about this brand new activity, and I realised the wider potential skateboarding could have for this community.”
With a skatepark at its centre, the project will also include community facilities, workshops regarding Female Genital Mutilation, a space for music events and a solar lit study area for children to use after school when there is no light at home.
Explaining the project further, Cameron said: “Our goal is to create a multipurpose community centre, starting with a skatepark, to provide a safe space for people to engage in activities previously inaccessible to them, as well as generate interest in this area of Sierra Leone, boosting tourism which could have a real impact in supporting the community.”
Many studies have shown the positive impact skateboarding has on both mental and physical health. It can help children and young people feel a sense of achievement when learning and progressing the skill, as well as having fun practicing new tricks on the board! It can give people the opportunity to be themselves surrounded by others with a similar outlook.
“Skateboarding is an activity that transcends the sport alone, there are a multitude of physical, mental, social and developmental benefits.” Added Cameron.
Cameron is currently employed by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust as a Community Ward Physiotherapist, predominantly working with elderly rehabilitation. He will be leaving the NHS early November and flying to Sierra Leone to complete phase one of the project. Cameron and The Cotton Tree Foundation are seeking £5000 in fundraising to deliver the country’s first ever skatepark and community centre.
“Ultimately, it is a global community, our goal is to support anyone with an interest in skateboarding with the freedom to skate!”.
You can donate towards the BoardersNotBorders project and help Cameron and the team towards their goal by visiting: www.gofundme.com/f/boardersnotborders