“If I wasn’t here, I’d just be at home on the X-box”

by Jasmin Campbell coaching

“If I wasn’t here, I’d just be at home on the X Box” says Archie who’s 14 and a regular attendee of Skate Club; a pop up car park project in Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset.

Skate Club is a partnership project with North Somerset Council, Locking Castle Church (LCC) and Wesport via the Sport England funded Satellite Clubs programme. The club was established to support a demand from young people in the local area for more opportunities and to help reclaim a community space that had been struggling with increasing levels of anti-social behaviour.

LCC had done some consultation commissioned by The Campus Facilities Management Committee (CFMC) which was funded through the Weston East Community Activity Network (WECAN). The consultation aimed to gain an understanding of the young people who use The Campus facilities, some of this group were seen to be causing trouble and disruption in the area.

With a reduction in funding for youth work programmes in North Somerset in recent years CFMC had been looking for community partners who could deliver positive interventions for the young people and provide alternatives to drugs and anti-social behaviour.

Wesport were able to support the project to have a member of the team trained to safely deliver skateboarding coaching. The project has grown and had a significantly larger impact than first hoped, including:

  • The Campus facility has had a reduced rate of call outs to the security team used to help police the site
  • The previously unused bike ramps and course behind the facility has been cleared and updated to encourage more activity
  • The Skate Club ran throughout the winter after securing some space indoors at The Campus to support young people

We visited the club's session exactly a year after it first started to see how the project had grown and was supporting local young people. After speaking with a range of club members, it was clear to see that the common positive thread was towards the coaches and volunteers who deliver the sessions. Engaging young people and maintaining their interest is key to the future of Skate Club.

Ashley who’s 15 and has been attending skate club over the past year took up the position as resident photographer for the club. After going through a tough patch at school Ashley found the clubs supportive environment helpful especially in the cold winter months when it was the only reason she would leave the house after school!

The team that run the sessions have a long term vision to totally transform the site and have taken time to look how they are delivering the skate club. The Wesport funding enabled the session to access training to ensure delivery was safe. This has in turn enabled the club to secure additional funding from WECAN to help enhance other elements of the club including supporting the 'leadership hub' delivered by the team and updating equipment.

Skate Club runs every Wednesday evening. Under 12’s sessions run from 7- 8pm and over 12’s from 8 – 9pm.

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about the author

Jasmin Campbell

Marketing & Administration Officer

T: 0117 328 6250