Geoff Else becomes an elected director of Skateboard England.

The Board of Skateboard England is delighted to welcome Geoff Else as a new elected director following the Annual General Meeting held on Monday 10th December 2018.

Geoff is the founder and director of the UK’s first and only nationwide skateboard school, Team Rubicon, which over the last decade has taught over 200,000 people.

He has worked with all levels of the education industry including primary schools, secondary schools, school sports partnerships, country sports partnerships as well as organisations like the Youth Sport Trust, Sport England, School Games and Change4Life. As such he has long standing links with many of them and understands their goals and methods.

Geoff has huge experience both in day to day operations (coaching, instructor training, syllabus writing, staff management, pricing and cost management) as well as the development of growth strategies – which has given him a broad range of skills including: developing relationships with private and public sector partners, marketing and advertising, fund applications, tender applications, contract work, human resources, sponsorship, health and safety, etc.

As a skateboarder for 25 years, Geoff fully appreciates how the sport has significantly evolved and how we must embrace both existing core skaters and partners as well as welcoming new members and the new directions the sport is taking.

He also founded and developed Camp Rubicon. This Summer alone the camps have welcomed hundreds of children from 15 different countries, as well as sponsored riders from the UK and America – and made over 100 skatepark visits. Geoff also has strong links with a large number of parks, park builders, skateshops and overseas skate organisations.

 

Report of Activities since October 2017

With Skateboard England currently being run by a team of volunteer directors and part-time member of staff, the board is proud of the achievements made this year. We continue to explore additional resource opportunities to enable Skateboard England to build on areas for development in 2019 and beyond.

As part of its support for skateboarding, Sport England directly funded external consultants to work with us to determine the skateboarding landscape, participant profiling and the ability of the national governing body to be sustainable in the long-term without a reliance on public funding. From January 2018, Sport England confirmed it would provide support for specific projects that were identified within our business planning, reflecting changes to its sports funding model.

Within all the work we have carried out this year, we are very conscious that our role is to support and facilitate the growth and sustainability of skateboarding. This is the key message to the skateboarding community and its pleasing to see that this is generally accepted and welcomed. We are excited that 2019 will see our reach increase as we develop the Digital Content Hub, funded by Sport England.

Governance of the company is an area we have worked to improve to ensure that we conform to UK Sport and Sport England’s governance code. This has included appointing Catherine Eastham, an Independent Non-Executive Director with responsibility for communication and PR activities. We will shortly be looking to replace Dave Holt in his role as INED with responsibility for commercial and sponsorship activities. Dave resigned earlier in the year due to relocating from the UK to Holland. We want to place on record our thanks to Dave for his invaluable advice and support during his time as a director.

During the year, Jerome Campbell resigned as an elected director. We want to place on record our thanks to Jerome for his commitment and dedication to Skateboard England and the sport in the country. This gave us the opportunity to elect another director at the 2018 Annual General Meeting.

Following the decision to include skateboarding in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, we have been working with UK Sport to identify medal potential and see how skaters can be supported. Discussions are still ongoing regarding funding which will give the opportunity to support skaters as well as creating a performance pathway and talent identification programmes in the future. Skateboard GB recently submitted a detailed and comprehensive application for Aspiration Funding to support the skaters who are deemed to have the potential to qualify for the Olympic Games.

We have been instrumental in creating Skateboard GB which is the governing body that represents the home nations for Olympic skateboarding. There are representatives from Skateboard Scotland, Skateboard England and Skateboard:NI on the board of Skateboard GB. Lucy Adams is the elected chair of Skateboard GB which is operated and administered by Skateboard England. We have spent a lot of time over the past two years in discussion with World Skate about recognition for Skateboard GB from the International Federation.

During the year we set up a new website and launched various membership schemes, which include some fantastic insurance savings for skaters, coaches, parks and schools. We are actively looking to increase the tangible benefits for all these categories and in the coming year will promote the membership options more proactively. Membership is an essential part of being a governing body as per Sport England policy and we will keep reviewing to ensure that the membership schemes are relevant and beneficial to the skateboarding community.

Sport England have recently awarded us a specific grant to create a Digital Content Hub including a member of staff to deliver the project. This will give us the capacity to engage better with the skateboarding community. The Digital Content Hub will be an App that provides a service to the skateboarding community who will shape its functionality and will be a tool to help increase participation and support the skateboarding industry.

The Board agreed to create the National Championships for Park and Street which form part of the qualification process for the 2020 Olympic Games. These events were to be held in 2018 but had to be postponed due to lack of finances. It is planned that the national championships will be held in the first quarter of 2019, subject to sponsorship.

We supported the hosting of an SLS event at the Copper Box in May 2018 which showcased the world’s best street skateboarders. The event will also take place in May 2019 and we are working with key stakeholders to secure additional world class events in the UK. The event gave us the opportunity to hold discussions with the London Legacy Development Corporation and the London Mayor’s Office about providing skateparks and other skateable areas within the Olympic Park, in addition to some participation projects for the local community. These positive discussions, which also include Long Live Southbank, are ongoing.

We’ve had several meetings regarding facilities with Sport England, as we look to develop our skatepark and facilities strategy, including criteria and tender processes for the building and refurbishing of skateparks. This is a long term piece of work but one that is essential if we are to increase the number and quality of parks and skateable areas across the country.

We have supported and given advice to a growing number of different skateparks, skateboarding organisations and individuals who are in the process of applying for funding.

StreetGames took over the delivery of the Level 1 coaching course at the beginning of 2018 and have delivered the course to 103 candidates. The total number of qualified coaches now stands at just over 230. The qualification is essential to see skateboarding grow and bring credibility to the sport, especially if we want to introduce coaching into schools and other organisations. We are currently working with StreetGames to review the course and to also assess the demand for Level 2 and Activator courses.

There are a number of partnerships we have created and others we are developing and continuing to work with. We are very conscious that we need to work with other organisations in order to increase participation and can use existing programmes such as StreetGames, UK Active and ParkLives. We are in discussions with these and others about various pilots that will be delivered in due course, using coaches that have qualified through the coaching course.

Following discussions, it is encouraging that at least three cities (Hull, Sheffield and Nottingham) are keen to engage with skateboarding and have committed to resourcing and supporting their local skateboarding communities with support from Skateboard England.

As this year finishes and we review our work, we are excited about the opportunities ahead of us in 2019 and beyond as we look to support the development and growth of skateboarding across the country.

James Hope-Gill