Communities Survey

In March of this year, we launched our first ever ‘Communities Survey’ to learn more about the amazing work done by people and organisations in skateboarding communities across the UK. We aimed to find how we can improve the support that Skateboard GB provides for these awesome projects. We are pleased to announce that the results from this survey are in and ready to share with you!

We’re so grateful to the 36 amazing organisations and individuals from across the country who responded to the survey. This has given us really rich insight into the challenges facing skateboarding activists and organisers, their experiences of Skateboard GB support so far, and how we can improve this.

To start with, the survey has given us a helpful understanding of what ‘community organising’ actually involves in UK skateboarding, in terms of the things you are planning to do or currently delivering. As events are key to skateboarding, it’s unsurprising that a large majority of responses (72%) said that “delivering events, comps or jams” was a big part of their activities.  The next most common activities (with respondents able to provide multiple responses) were “delivering skateboard coaching sessions” (63%), “creating community skate media, including film, photography, zines and blogs” (55%) and “organising meet-ups for different groups of skaters, including marginalised or underrepresented groups” (52%).

Communities across the UK are facing unprecedented challenges, including the ongoing Cost of Living crisis and the Local Government funding crisis. So it is no wonder that 77% of responses identified access to funding as their biggest challenge.  Skateboard GB has worked hard to help with this over the last 18 months, with webinars, guidance tool kits, and one-to-one support about grants and crowdfunding, how to apply for it, and tips to increase your chances of success. The main way you’ve contacted and received support from Skateboard GB is by email (48%), with the next most popular means of support being use of web-based advice and guidance assets (38%).

One of the Government’s key challenges to sports organisations across the UK is to help address inequalities in access to sport and physical exercise by geography, age, gender, income, ethnicity, health, and disability. Skateboarding can punch above its weight and there are so many skateparks, skate schools, coaches, shops, and community organisations that are doing this.

But one of the other big messages from the survey data is the geographical distribution of organisations and opportunities to get involved. Although we had responses from all over England plus one from Scotland, the largest numbers were from the two Southern English regions, with 10 from the South East and 10 from the South West (over half our total responses). In contrast, only 3 from the West Midlands, 2 from the East Midlands, 3 from the North West and no responses from either Yorkshire and the Humber or the North East.  This partly correlates with recent data from the House of Commons library on regional investment inequalities (in which the East Midlands receives the lowest level of public spending in the UK),and closely correlates with Office for National Statistics estimates of wealth and income (in which the North East has consistently had the lowest levels across both measures whilst the South East is the ‘wealthiest’ region in terms of household income). This poses a fundamental challenge for community organising and activism in skateboarding: if our culture, community and sport is amazing at tackling inequalities, how do we collectively support more activity in parts of the country that receive less investment? Your responses suggest that the key lies in collaboration and sharing information and learning.

One big takeaway is that people really want to gather together; it can be lonely battling away to make things better for skateboarding and the wider community in individual towns, cities and more rural areas. Skateboarders tend to learn best by doing, and by sharing stories. So it’s no surprise that your biggest ask (75% of responses) was for more in-person events, workshops and networking opportunities.

We are in awe and super proud that so many skateboarding communities have stepped up to these multiple challenges in their local areas, and have become leaders for positive change. Your feedback will help us do much better, and to tailor our support to different needs and learning styles.

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