Taking everything on board: local youth group benefits from council funding
A pioneering project to help young people improve their skateboarding skills is going from strength to strength with support from the Council’s Community Walking & Cycling Fund.
Everyone on Boards is a community-led, not-for-profit group, founded in 2020 by Agnieszka ("Aga") Wood. It runs a range of skateboard lessons for five to 16 year olds at two local skateparks with the aim of empowering as many people as possible to enjoy and benefit from the sport.
Everyone on Boards has received more than £1,000 from this year’s Community Walking & Cycling Fund, which has helped expand the project to reach even more young people.
It has really helped us with the outreach side of things, connecting with people who might not otherwise get the chance to try skateboarding.
It requires less equipment than some other activities, but there is still a cost involved and for many people, even a relatively low barrier to entry is enough to prevent some from trying. We really want everyone to feel that it is something they can get involved with.
Everyone on Boards has been hugely successful in expanding over the last few years with the support of the Council, seeing a 30 per cent increase in participation overall, and an amazing 70 per cent increase in the number of girls attending the activities.
We want current and future generations of young people to enjoy outdoor activities, which helps build confidence and social skills. It also challenges people mentally and physically, and I hope it helps encourage them to make positive decisions that benefit the wider community.
It’s also really important to encourage more girls to take an active part in skateboarding regardless of background.
Now in its fifth year, the Community Walking & Cycling Fund has helped more than 2,500 residents to get involved with a range of active travel projects. This year, nine unique projects offering a huge range of free, social activities to local people throughout the summer have received grants of up to £3,000 each.
Alongside Everyone on Boards, projects include:
- Age UK Waltham Forest, which runs cycle training for those aged 60 plus
- Wellbeing walks with Life After Cancer
- Bike rides round the borough for local women, courtesy of Cycle Sisters
- JoyRiders Britain CIC, which offers summer cycling opportunities for families.
- JP Fix and Ride, offering DIY bike maintenance courses in Leytonstone and Chingford
- CarryMe Bikes CIC, a family cycling equipment lending library
- Weekly bike rides from Salaam Peace
- The Walking Project, courtesy of Cann Hall Can.
Cllr Clyde Loakes, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Air Quality and Climate, said:
We want to help local people to do much more walking and cycling, and in the case of the brilliant Everyone on Boards, skateboarding too – which is why we are providing vital support to a range of amazing organisations across the borough.
This story was originally published in the Summer 2023 issue of Waltham Forest News, the Council's quarterly newspaper that keeps residents up to date with all the latest community news. In the paper, read all about how the council is working to create a better borough for everyone who lives and works here. We deliver the paper to every home and business in the borough. Find out more about WFN.