Cinematic documentary explores Margate skate community

Margate Skate Documentary

A £1million skatepark planned for the former putting green at Ethelbert Terrace in Cliftonville has been the prompt for a documentary exploring what skating means to the people in and around Margate, the lessons it has taught, the struggles involved and the community it has built.

Filmmakers Matthew Murphy and Hazeleigh Prebble – who is also a film lecturer – have spent a year working on the project after initially being asked to help with Instagram reels for Skate Pharm owner Nic Powley.

Nic and friend Dan Cates, from Margate Skateboard Club, are the lead creators for the planned skatepark which has been awarded £750,000 in town deal funding, £100,000 from artist Tracey Emin and £59,000 from Thanet council.

The skatepark will be free to access and open to all. There will be coaching on offer to help people improve their skills. It will also host events, workshops and other activities.

An early market engagement exercise took place in February 2024 – a prospectus was issued with information about the scheme and interested parties were invited to complete a pre-market engagement questionnaire, which will now inform the contractor procurement process.

Matthew, who lives in Margate and took up skating as a youngster, says the aim was to shine a spotlight on the project and the skating community.

The 37-year-old said: “Nic wanted to produce Instagram reels with interviews of skateboarders talking about the benefits of skateboarding.

“Over the course of a year, we (Matthew and Hazeleigh) did interviews with the skaters and spent time with them, getting to know them better.”

The result is Community – Margate Skate Documentary, a 25 minute film talking to people including Nic Powley, Dan Cates and Kane McArthur who runs Thanet’s Scorcha Skate School.

Matthew, who says his films are a way to explore the world around us, said: “I want people to watch the film and enjoy it. The feedback so far has been amazing. People have described it as a love letter to skateboarding.

“We want to support a positive message and show how it impacts lives and the personalities around this sport. It documents the inclusivity and it was a privilege to have that experience and put it together, it was an eye-opening experience.”

Matthew says all those spoken to, such as Lina who has encouraged daughter Boo into the sport and quad skater Daiz who says skating helps release emotions connected to ADHD, have different experiences and struggles.

In it Nic Powley talks about working through the design process for the new skate park, saying: “When working on a project like this, at any point in the process there can be a hiccup.

“We are probably about a year behind where we thought we would be but we had three years of pandemic,”

Nic says despite the delay the project has mostly been plain sailing.

He added that it would not be ‘just any skatepark” but “something to set the standard of how to run a skatepark and become a community” and “change lives.”

Kane talks about skateboarding in NCP or on the street as a youngster and how the sport has now developed to have mentorship, guidance and community.

He said: “Skateboarding has taught me a lot, definitely a lot about myself and built me into the person I am and also given me that sense of ambition.

“For me it is important that all those young people coming up, growing up in the area, know that that space is there for them as well.

Separately, Kane has launched a petition calling for improvements at the skatepark at Broadstairs Memorial Rec.

The 27-year-old says: “Despite its high use and the diverse range of ages it serves, it remains overlooked and under-maintained. Recently, the courts alongside the skatepark have been refurbished and repurposed for other sports, and yet, the skatepark is continually ignored, creating unsafe conditions for our skaters.

“A considerable number of my students are unable to safely use the surrounding space due to its poor condition. This has not only limited the growth of our thriving skate community, it has also stalled the potential of attracting more tourism to our town and enhancing its recreational offerings.

“This petition stands as a plea for our community’s right to a safe and improved skatepark in Broadstairs. We need the park to be resurfaced and updated. Additionally, a bin—regularly emptied—is a small but significant step towards a cleaner space, fostering both pride and respect our park deserves.

“The upgraded skatepark would not only benefit the skateboarders of all ages but also attract more visitors, creating a positive impact on our local economy.”

Find the petition here

Skateboard GB says most skateboarders would define skating as a lifestyle rather than a sport. However with the growth of competition over the last few years and introduction of skateboarding at the Olympics in 2021, skateboarding is now often categorised as an action sport.

As of 2020 data shows there are approximately 750,000 people who take part in some form of skateboarding activity in the UK

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