Inspired by Charlton’s new skate park but want some lessons before you take to the bowl? STUART HOPPER has been in touch to tell us about the lessons School of Skate has been running in Charlton Park since the skatepark opened.
I’ve been part of the group campaigning for the skatepark for the last 8 years, so it makes sense to carry it through and try and get the local community involved now the park is here.
We helped out at the opening event, but weren’t able to do the public participation for Greenwich Council because of Storm Brian. We did then offer 20 free places at skate school, the following weekend to make up for that, but the curse followed us through and we had to postpone again because of bad weather.
We’ve been testing the water at the skatepark in November, and the response has been great.
We started doing Saturday mornings but there was so much demand we started Sundays and we’ve had to turn people away, unfortunately.
We provide skateboards and safety equipment and let the kids have a go. We cover the basics, riding along, and turning.
It’s mainly been the kids getting involved, I think this is because I’ve been letting people know through parents’ groups on Facebook (I’m a parent too).
We’ve been charging a moderate amount so it’s accessible, but we’re hoping to find funding so we can offer it to those who maybe can’t or won’t be able to spare the cash.
Once the kids get into skating, it’s a relatively inexpensive pastime.
If you can find £40 for a secondhand setup, it can give you literally years of no-cost use, what with the many free outdoor skateparks in London now.
The skatepark in Charlton Park is probably the best in south-east London, until Crystal Palace opens in a few weeks. We had the mantle for a while, though! As skateboarding will be in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics it’s really going to be highlighted in the public’s consciousness.
We’ve managed to get some indoor space on Tuesdays at Aircraft Circus in Woolwich. Unfortunately they are closing down for a refurb during January and February, but we’re hoping to be back at the skatepark after February half term offering a more diverse range of lessons; for those progressing beyond absolute beginner, also for adults, and we’ve had calls for a girls-only class run by a female instructor.
We’ve also had schools get in touch about lessons, as well as scout groups. We’ve recently been asked if we can provide skate school places to be raffled at Charlton Manor Primary’s Christmas Fair, which we’ve agreed to. We’ll be there on Friday 8 December to talk about what we do.
We’re also looking into the possibility of running lessons during the school holidays, so watch this space.
Our blog is here – www.schoolofskate.co.uk/blog – and we’ve got some footage of the skate schools on our YouTube channel. In the new year I’m hoping to turn this into more of a trick guide, so everyone can learn online. You can also find School of Skate on Facebook.