Call for Sky Brown's Olympic win to help improve facilities for North East skateboarders
The North East could be turning out Olympic medal hopeful skateboarders like Sky Brown if they had the right places to train.
That’s the view of Shred the North, a community interest company launched last year to help all ages learn and develop their skills across the region, with a rise in people taking up the sport during lockdown, especially girls and women.
Leaders believe the achievement of the 13-year-old at the Tokyo Olympics – with her bronze medal making her the youngest winning Brit – would be “almost impossible” for someone from the region.
They say the lack of facilities are a significant barrier, leading some to travel to Blackpool to find the set up they need to train.
While the region has a thriving scene and outdoor parks, they say facilities must be improved, calling on councils to speak to skateboarders about designs and a need for indoor courses to support the sport all year round.
Jamie Scott, 42, Shred the North’s volunteers and is also a director of Sunderland-based Evidence Based Education, which trains up teachers.
He said: “There are lots of skate parks, but the people making them never really have conversations with skateboarders and some of them are just like death traps.
"The problem we have is getting them to listen, because I’ve emailed so many councillors and just one got back to me and said they would be in touch and I’ve still never heard back from them.
"We need to be heard, but there’s nobody listening.
“Whilst Sky Brown’s achievements are fantastic, they would sadly have been almost impossible if she had grown up in the North East of England.
"We must find a way to ensure that young people inspired by the Olympics have an opportunity to achieve excellence as well as enjoy the multitude of benefits that skateboarding brings.”
Meanwhile, 86% said it helped their mental health, 83% said it helped their physical health and 78% said it helped them connect with the outdoors.