A few weeks ago, I featured the deeply impressive letter written by the (then) eleven-year old Matty Keating from Clayhanger, who is appealing for help to get a skate park for Clayhanger.
At the time, I found Matty to be courteous, polite and eloquent, and was very taken with his mature and thoughtful approach to his cause.
Since the initial approach, Matty has been campaigning further, and has elicited the help of councillors and the local press: last Tuesday (3rd February 2015) it made for a really nice article in the Express & Star, the text of which I include in full below as it doesn’t seem to be online anywhere.
Congratulations to Matty and his pals, and especially Matty’s pal Dylan Griffiths, who also wrote to the council about this last year. Keep campaigning folks, you’re all a credit to your community.
I’m aware of some disquiet in Clayhanger about potential nuisance from a skate park, but I implore those concerned to meet the kids and talk to them. These are very community spirited youngsters, and they’ll listen and are reasonable. They are part of the community just like adults, and deserve a fair hearing. Such positive energy deserves nurturing and encouraging – these are the Clayhanger residents of the future.
If you can help the campaign out, please comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com, and I’ll pass the messages on. Cheers!
Campaign wheels are in motion
Report by Katy-Rose Meaney
A young skater fed up with the lack of local play areas for children his age has set up a campaign for a skate
Matty Keating, aged 12, wrote to his local councillors and MP Richard Shepherd in a bid to get the skate area built in
Clayhanger Park in Brownhills.
The Bishop Vesey’s Grammar School pupil believes that more should be provided at the park in Church Street for
children his age.
Matty, who got his first scooter 18 months ago, said: ‘I like to go on my scooter after school and at weekends but I have to ask my parents to drive me to the skate park in Cannock.
‘We get moaned at if we sit indoors playing on the computer and we get moaned at if we play on our scooters in the street.’
Councillor Marco Longhi has offered advice and support to the young campaigner.
Councillor Longhi said: ‘He contacted me for help and his letter made my heart melt, he is just a fantastic example for his
‘It is fantastic that someone so young is getting involved in campaigns and is willing to put himself forward and fight.
‘I am now planning with his parents the best way forward. I am happy to help.’
Matty said: ‘Mr Longhi told me I can talk at a meeting and tell councillors what we need.
‘There’s lots of us that like to skate. It would be really good if it happens, I would be really happy.’ The youngster
recently spent his Christmas money on a better model scooter and he now hopes to improve so he can enter eventually com-
He said: ‘Now it’s just for fun and exercise but I would like to get better and enter competitions.’
His mother, Stephanie Keating, said: ‘His friend sent a letter too and an email to a number of organisations, including
Sport England and the lottery.
‘It was their own idea and Matty wrote the letter out himself.
‘There is nothing for children his age on the estate and I am proud that he wants to improve the area for local kids. He told me it was worth a go.’
Not a surprise to hear the disquiet, the same people moaning about the potential skate park will also moan if the kids use their scooters by the shops or on the footpaths. There is an old saying “you just cant win”. Well lads you can win……… keep going, youll get there.
It’s the attention it will bring from other areas all clayhanger kids would be fine,as they all pretty much know each other it’s such a small area…. wouldn’t it be okay if it was built right across the field so it’s not by the houses…If your gonna do the skate park sort the disaster of a park out for my little ones to,we have to go elsewhere. Due to dog poo, beer and glass etc..