Suffolk skaters on a push to boost communities through new organisation

Skateboarders from across Suffolk have come together to form Skate Suffolk

Skateboarders from across Suffolk have come together to form Skate Suffolk - Credit: Skate Suffolk

A group of Suffolk skateboarders are hoping to challenge stereotypes and transform the county's skateboarding scene through their new organisation.

Their new organisation, Skate Suffolk, was set up earlier this year in a bid to help unite the county's skateboarding community while challenging negative perceptions and boosting opportunities for local youth.

It aims to work with local authorities on improving the accessibility and inclusivity of skateboarding, to engage in community projects and help open doors for young, creative people.

Similar organisations such as Skate Nottingham, Skate Southampton and the international Skateistan have all had successes working together with local authorities, with Skate Southampton having secured £250,000 in funding for a local skatepark.

The logo for Skate Suffolk, which aims to help improve communities through skateboarding

The logo for Skate Suffolk, which aims to help enhance communities through skateboarding - Credit: Skate Suffolk

Jamie Martin-Edwards, a town planner for Babergh and Mid Suffolk district councils, formed the group with friends from across the Suffolk skateboarding scene, each bringing with them their own talents and skillsets.

Mr Martin-Edwards said: "We realised we are far more powerful when we come together as a group.

"Skateboarding is no longer an 80s punk, anarchic sort of thing – it's athletic, it's a sport focused on health and wellbeing which can be integrated into society a lot better than it could before.

"Skateboarding does so much for young people, in terms of bonding, socialisation and learning some incredibly important life skills. 

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"You have to fail to succeed – that is so important. You have to fail so many times before you get results and that is such an important life lesson.

"You can see the social enhancement of going through a process like that alongside your friends – it's that sort of lesson that we at Skate Suffolk want to embody."

The Skate Suffolk guidelines

The Skate Suffolk guidelines - Credit: Skate Suffolk

The group also aims to help push for major changes at Ipswich's Stoke Bridge skate park to help tackle non-skatepark users who instead use it as a place for crime and anti-social behaviour.

The group will be hosting skate lessons for children at Whitehouse skatepark on July 31 and August 7, with local charity Groundwork East supporting the group to buy equipment and fund their Skateboard GB coaching badges.

The group has trained Skateboard GB coaches and is hosting free lessons

The group has trained Skateboard GB coaches and is hosting free lessons - Credit: Skate Suffolk

Mr Martin-Edwards added: "We find that a lot of money gets pumped into skateparks and then they're just left. Sometimes what you find, like at Whitehouse skate park recently, is they get used for the wrong reasons.

"But if you go there and meet the young people that use these skateparks, they are such talented people – one has even set up his own T-shirt company.

"When you speak to these kids – who may be seen as being from a deprived area and categorised into some sort of box – you see they are just human beings. Extraordinary human beings.

"The smiles and the laughter are just invaluable."

Skateboarding is set to feature at the Olympics again on August 4 and August 5.

More information on Skate Suffolk can be found on their website.