The skatepark bringing people together in the heart of Tottenham Hale
By Rae Smith, Founder and Chair, Keep Pushing Co Ltd
Tottenham has a growing skate scene that has nowhere to skate during the winter months, and a huge community of skaters and artists lacking in opportunities.
I had been working as an events manager at Grow Tottenham in Ashley Road, but lost my job when events stopped because of Covid-19 restrictions. I’d been running inclusive beginner skate sessions for years and had already worked with Nike Sb, Vans, Young Hackney and more, but always had to stop teaching in the winter months because of bad weather, so, building a sheltered skatepark to teach in had been a long-time dream.
With nothing happening at Grow throughout lockdown, I asked Paul the owner if I could use the time to build a skatepark with space for teaching art too, and he agreed.
I started a go fund me to raise funds and began making plans for the section of site that I was allowed to build on. The momentum built as the money and support started to increase, the team grew bigger and bigger, and the project took on a life of its own. Eight months later, here we are – about to open!
Keep Growing is a project set up by creative collective Keep Pushing Co Ltd, working in partnership with Grow Tottenham and local co working space Tottenham Textiles (Tottex) to create a small, beginner friendly skatepark and art space for the whole community to come together and learn skateboarding, roller-skating, screen printing and more.
Our base in Grow Tottenham is a temporary site that is slated for redevelopment, but it is expected to remain until at least October 2022. Keep Pushing Co Ltd, however, is an ongoing company that aims to claim and build spaces in the area for years to come.
We’re providing a sheltered space from the rain throughout winter months for skaters and roller-skaters of all levels to come together, progress and enjoy themselves as well as providing jobs and opportunities for members of these communities. It’s only a small space, with two mini ramps and an area of concrete, but I hope we can connect with enough people to show the need for such a place in Tottenham and move on to a bigger, more permanent indoor space in the future.
We are focused on creating a safe space for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, people of colour, and minorities within the art and skateboarding scenes, largely because there is a lack of such spaces within London – however, we welcome everyone through our doors.
Keep Growing will bring segregated communities within Tottenham together, tackling both physical and mental health issues by getting people active, teaching new skills and most importantly providing a safe space for people from all walks of life to have fun.
Skateboarding and roller-skating have seen explosive growth in popularity over the last five years as previous assumptions about who can participate in these activities have begun to falter. Women, members of the queer community, beginner adults, members of marginalised communities, young children and older men returning to an old hobby during lockdown are flooding local skateparks. With skateboarding now an Olympic sport, and with one of the UK entrants being 13-year-old, Sky Brown, barriers to this activity are coming crashing down, and we are excited to be at the forefront of this new movement.
We currently have an opportunity to shape the redevelopment of the area and bring about positive changes resulting in good use of space for the community. We believe that the future development of the area must include safe, accessible, indoor spaces for skateboarding, roller-skating, music, events, and creative and artistic practices for the community as a whole.
Many organisations are supporting us by donating their time, money, and resources to help build the skatepark. Once we’re open, people can come to our creative lessons, workshops, exhibitions, film screenings, and events, or just have a skate!
We hope you will join us on this journey into the future of Tottenham, sharing your own ideas for events and ways to use the space.
To find out more, support, or get involved, visit: www.keeppushingco.com and follow @keeppushingco on Instagram