Skaters inspire next generation with free classes on Ipswich Waterfront
- Credit: Ella Wilkinson
Young people in Ipswich were given a taste of skateboarding thanks to a day of lessons on the Waterfront.
The team from Skate Suffolk hosted the free sessions and skate jam outside the Cult Cafe bar on Neptune Marina on Saturday.
The team is made up of local skateboarders, including sponsored riders, who want to help enhance the public perception of the sport and inspire its next generation.
They have been trained by Skateboard GB to become licensed coaches and have previously run successful lessons at the Whitehouse Skatepark.
Funding for the event was secured with thanks to the National Lottery and Groundwork East.
George Yarnton, one of the trustees at Skate Suffolk, said events like these are all about helping children build confidence, make friends and learn valuable life skills.
Those can include learning how to fail in order to eventually succeed, as well as building a community with those around you.
Mr Yarnton, who works as a designer for local clothing brand Hoax, said: "It's all for engaging with the community, teaching them skateboarding and helping them understand it a bit more.
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"From our own experience, we all came from different backgrounds, but our experience as skateboarders has brought us together as a nice community of friends.
"We feel it's important for kids - and especially now with the Olympics - to encourage people of all backgrounds to get involved.
"We're just trying to kick-start that and help build a community for people who maybe don't have much of a community themselves."
Mr Yarnton added the group has been overwhelmed by the response to events so far, with more events planned later in the year.
He said: "It has been really good so far. Today's event was really busy before the first session. We were fully booked by around 10am.
"I think each time we've done this, it's got even busier – which is a real positive for us."
The group is now running a survey on possible changes to the Stoke Bridge Skatepark, which would help to discourage non-skatepark users from using it as a place for anti-social behaviour and drug-taking.
Those who would like to have their say on changes to the skatepark can do so by filling out a survey on the Skate Suffolk website.