Dogged determination turns stereotyping into something positive

skate

At the launch of Crime Stoppers Week 2017, from left, Senator Eric Abetz, Liam Meagher, Will Barwick, Speaker of the House of Assembly Elise Archer, Sam Barwick, president of the South Arm Peninsular Residents Association Kerry Scambler (the association has assisted the boys from the beginning) and Clarence Council alderman Sharyn Von Bertouch (another great supporter of the boys).

 

A mate’s minor run-in with the law several years ago has resulted in a GYC Year 12 student being featured in an advertisement that will be aired on local television in August.

Liam Meagher and his best mate Will Barwick and Will’s younger brother, Sam, have worked for four years to have a skateboard park established at South Arm. Others have tried and given up; the boys, however, have stuck doggedly to the task.

After years of resolute persistence and hard work, Clarence Council has made $250,000 available for the project, the park has been designed, the land excavated and tenders have been called.

The boys’ story was featured at the recent Crime Stoppers Week launch early in May to highlight community spirit, working together and safe communities. It will go to air on local television in August as part of a Crime Stoppers community project.

Will and Sam’s mother, Mrs Jo Barwick, supplied the photo from the launch and filled in some of the details.

She said that four years ago, Sam was wrongly accused of a minor act of vandalism at South Arm. While it was based on an incorrect assumption, it upset him as he believed that he and his skateboarding friends were being stereotyped.

The only concrete at South Arm then was at the local school and outside the shop. Their plight was exacerbated as there were limited bus services and the brothers’ ages at the time were 11 and 14.

Sam put his feelings on paper, in the form of letters to the Clarence City Council and the South Arm Peninsula Residents Association. He asked that somewhere safe for kids be provided. A skate park.

Sam enlisted the help of his older brother, Will, and Will’s best mate Liam Meagher.

They organised petitions, walked the streets knocking on doors seeking support, spoke with politicians and other civic leaders. They met with the designer, the council and the skateboard community, including the

“They never gave up,” Mrs Barwick said.

“I am so very proud of them as they now have been granted $250,000 in the last budget, the park has been designed to the boys’ requirements, the land is excavated and ready and the tender document was advertised in a recent Mercury.

“These determined boys have turned stereotyping into something positive.”

Liam is in Year 12 on the Hobart Campus and is the captain of the GYC AFL football team this year. Will is in Year 12 at Rosny College and Sam is at MacKillop Catholic College.