Participants of skate collective Skatebirds at a training session in Dublin, Ireland
© Chloe Christie
Skateboarding

Join us: 10 super UK and Ireland skate initiatives

Whatever your age or ability, here are ten skateboarding groups you can get involved with this Go Skate Day (21 June)...
Written by Niall Neeson
7 min readPublished on
It's Go Skate Day on 21 June 2022. Whether you're just starting, or a lapsed skater looking for a route back in, below is a list of skate groups who can help you get back on the board without feeling out of place.
If you're looking for a competition to get involved in, Red Bull Road Gap is taking place across the UK this summer. The event celebrates the culture of UK Road Gap skating and takes its inspiration from the classic Big Ben gap spot in London. The first stop of the summer is Leak Street Arches, Lambeth, London on Go Skate Day from 6pm – 10pm. Be sure to get down and check out the action.
In the meantime, here are just some of the collectives – and small businesses which have grown out of them – who are helping new or returning skaters of all ages and abilities to immerse themselves in a welcoming world of skateboarding.
Hold your breath and drop in!
01

Wight Trash, Isle of Wight

59 High St, Ryde PO33 2RJ
Who are they? Founded in 2004, Wight Trash is the brainchild of legendary Isle of Wight skater John Cattle. A skate shop whose wider mission is to continue developing the scene on the island via improving facilities and building the community. There's also John's own John Cattle Skate Club, which has adults-only and women-only sessions, making it ideal for skateboarders who want to session with like-minded peers. The group is hugely welcoming to day-trippers, so don't hesitate if you're a mainlander looking for a welcoming skate adventure.
They say: “The philosophy is simple: do your own thing, skate for fun and support the independent UK skate scene.”
Links:
02

The Lodge Skatepark & Community Space, Lewes

Indoor skatepark and community space at The Lodge in East Sussex
Skatepark at The Lodge
18 Phoenix Place, Lewes, BN7 2QJ
Who are they? The Lodge is a brand new indoor skatepark and community hub in East Sussex, open seven days a week. It is the shared vision of storied UK skate scene veteran Pete Hellicar – founder of Unabomber Skateboards and Lewes’ fine Skate Society skate shop – and the parents of local skate prodigy Diggs English. As well as offering age and ability-specific skateboarding sessions, you can also check out the Englishes live music venue and art space, The Lansdown Arms for a pre or post-skate social.
They say: “Our space is open seven days a week, and we offer skate sessions for all ages and abilities in a safe and inclusive environment."
Links:
03

Learn To Skateboard, London

House of Vans, Arches 228-232, Station Approach Road, London, SE1 8SW
Who are they? Since being founded by skate coach Dave Chesson back in 2004, Learn To Skate's crew of coaches has included many of the UK’s actively sponsored skateboarders. As well as providing over 18s-only and all-female sessions (subject to demand at its host venue, the House of Vans skatepark), the venue has itself just announced its own regular Wednesday night session for older skaters. Experience their professional skate instruction for free by signing up for one of their sessions via the House of Vans website.
They say: “The fact of the matter is, you’re almost certainly going to fall or take a slam at some point. That’s just part of skateboarding.”
Links:
04

Fakie SB, Glasgow

Outside the Fakie SB skate shop in Glasgow
Fakie SB skate shop & hangout space
Osborne St, Glasgow, G1 5LD
Who are they? Fakie SB is a skate shop, brand, spot, hangout space and event production collective right in the centre of Glasgow. Established by local legends the McMonagle brothers, it intends to be an indoor space for the entire Scottish skate community, provided at an affordable price. There are classes for beginners and adult first-timers and nervous returners. Make sure to check out their eponymous store clothing line and their inventory of local brands.
They say: “We aim to shine the light on Scottish Skateboarding and the undiscovered talent within the scene. Join The Movement.”
Links:
05

Monkeybird, Belfast

Various spots, Belfast
Who are they? Monkeybird is Belfast's oldest skate crew. Despite the collective not having a defined structure, people in the city point to filmer and podcaster Ryan O'Neile (aka Hippy) as the main man. Hit up his podcast, Useless Wooden Noise for the lowdown on how to get involved with skaters of your ability and everything skate-related.
They say: “It's mad how quickly people are progressing here… all the skaters are killing it.”
Links:
06

Skatebirds, Dublin

Participants of skate collective Skatebirds at a training session in Dublin, Ireland
Dublin-based skate crew Skatebirds at a training session
Who are they? Skatebirds are a Dublin-based collective championing inclusivity. Their message – “We’re about diversity and social equity – join our flock” – has resonated with a new wave of Irish skateboarders, numbers of which have swelled since the COVID lockdowns. "For a while it did feel like this was such a small community," says Skatebird supremo Jesse Donnelly, "now it feels huge. Anybody can join us." Follow their Instagram for details of meet-ups, and visit their site to get your hands on a Skatebird board (plus a new clothing line, coming soon).
They say: “Before lockdown, we had a WhatsApp group and there were about 20 people in it. Now there’s over 100.”
Links:
07

Girl Skate UK, National

Various spots, UK
Who are they? Girl Skate UK cater for women and non-binary skaters in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The group co-ordinates nationwide meet-ups in cities including Manchester, Sheffield and London, and also has its own retreat. They offer lessons and generally remove barriers to entry for anyone looking to get involved. Co-founder Danielle Gallagher and her small army have built a great community – head to their website which is packed with useful resources.
They say: “Events are at the heart of Girl Skate UK and we love seeing the friendships formed online grow at our skate nights and parties.”
Links:
08

Skate Parlour and Mama Skate, Leicester

Unit 32, Burgess Road, Leicester, LE2 8QL
Who are they? Skate Parlour is Leicester's only indoor skatepark and the UK's only female-owned-and-operated one. It aims to further the Skate Mama social enterprise and community group, who also offer workshops and skate clinics in the city. It's the vibes-free place for beginners and returners to the skating fold, and a great way to discover the related activities in art and social awareness that founders Yusra Alageli and Lily Clawson-Chan are championing within the Leicester skate scene.
They say: "We are not just a skatepark."
Links:
09

Skate Nottingham, Nottingham

Two skate park builders from Skate Nottingham working on a wooden skate ramp
Skate Nottingham members at work
Various spots, Nottingham
Who are they? Skate Nottingham are a collective dedicated to growing skateboarding in Nottingham. Nottingham has the UK's lowest gross disposable income per household and Skate Nottingham focuses on creating opportunities for skaters from these lower socio-economic backgrounds. With the help of volunteers, the group has delivered numerous National Lottery grant-funded programmes, such as assembling skate kits and sharing them with kids from lower-income households. Skate Nottingham aims to open all renovated local skate spots by the end of summer 2022, including a newly built grind ledge in a disused recreation ground.
They say: “We’re keen to encourage skateboarders from all over the world to visit Nottingham, for its public outdoor skateparks, its amazing scene and community…”
Links:
10

Spit & Sawdust, Cardiff

Rhymney River Bridge Road, Cardiff, CF23 9AF
Who are they? Located in Cardiff, Spit & Sawdust is a community-run venue by three artists and a skateboarder who have created a venue that houses a skatepark, cafe and studio art space. Their aim is to provide a welcoming cultural, creative and social place in the city for skaters of all abilities. Their offerings range from women-only nights to public sessions where they grow fruit, flowers and vegetables in the venue's garden. A scroll around their website will reveal the terrific food they serve and their passion for skateboarding.
They say: “We aim to offer a unique and welcoming cultural, creative and social space in the city.”
Links: