Everyone on Boards CIC’s Daniel Turner explains why now’s the perfect time to get the borough’s young people into skateboarding…
Anyone walking past Lloyd Park skatepark will have seen up to 50 people of all ages, genders and abilities simultaneously using a space about the size of a tennis court.
While this group does harmoniously co-exist, more rideable terrain is needed to meet demand. This boom in participation is set to keep growing – thanks to skateboarding’s inclusion in the Tokyo Olympics, and Team GB’s medal contender being 12- year-old skating pro Sky Brown.
Recognising the multiple benefits of skateboarding (fitness, confidence, creativity), Aga Wood – a local mum of two girls – created Everyone on Boards in January 2020, later joined by her friend Josefin Orving. The social enterprise’s mission is to encourage people from different backgrounds – especially girls – to get into action sports.
An informal after-school club developed organically at Lloyd Park during summer 2020, too – where more experienced teenage riders were teaching children under 10, which helped to build a strong community.
This bonding was made all the better thanks to the kind donations from Sodo Pizza (itself founded by a former professional inline skater). And it seemed youngsters preferred getting skating instruction, plus tips for caring for their boards, from teens rather than adults. Intergenerational relationships are really important. Before, younger kids may have been nervous to go to a skatepark.
Away from Lloyd Park, there’s the excellent new concrete skatepark at Cann Hall, Leytonstone – which saw the replacement of tired and damaged wooden ramps with high-quality concrete, ideal for more experienced riders.
But what’s really missing in Waltham Forest is an indoor skatepark that enables year-round, all-weather access in a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment. The nearest indoor skatepark is ten miles away in Barking, and is difficult to access without a car.
So, Everyone on Boards has set up a crowdfunder to build an indoor skatepark in Walthamstow, with a warehouse location identified in Blackhorse Lane. This is a key area for regeneration and a skatepark would fit very naturally alongside other venues in the vicinity, such as Yonder Indoor Climbing and the Inky Cuttlefish Art Studios.
With hundreds of new properties being built in Waltham Forest, there is a real need for activities to keep that incoming new demographic entertained, and a skatepark can provide a service for such a wide age range – from lessons for under tens, to competitions for experienced, older riders.
We also believe this indoor skatepark would attract business from all over London and the South East – simply due to the very low number of good indoor facilities.
At time of writing, the campaign has 180 backers and has raised over £17,000 in just three weeks – which is a fantastic start, but this is 15% of the required total: £110,000. There’s a long way to go.
The campaign ends on 11th May, and in order to attract match-funding from the Mayor of London, there needs to be momentum built by local community. And we think it’s worth the community’s support.
To donate to this project, visit Space Hive
For more info on Everyone on Boards CIC, visit the official website