The Parade Skate Shop Day Fund  | Parade

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The Parade Skate Shop Day Fund 

We Check-In With The Chosen Skate Stores

The Parade Skate Shop Day Fund 
Posted by Matt Broadley6 min read
Friday, May 28, 2021

If you don’t know about Skate Shop Day, it’s an initiative that is rolled out each February and is a celebration of the community around core skate shops and the role they play within the local skate community. Their importance is ten-fold, from engaging with young customers who will hopefully go onto become life-long skateboarders to fostering and nurturing the existing skate community to continue its health. For many people, skate shops were the first place they saw a skate video and sheepishly bought that set-up which went on to change their lives. 

As this February’s SSD approached, we challenged ourselves on how we could be involved in this initiative. With Parade being a platform for skate stores to widen their online business, we were aware that a lot of what SSD stood for was around that in-store experience and local community play. So we decided to donate to that community and threw $2000 into a fund that all skate stores on Parade could apply for and use within their community. 

New Balance Numeric, who also supported SSD with collab shoes, heard about our idea and instantly matched the 2k, deciding that two stores could benefit from the fund. Acting as an independent judge New Balance reviewed all our applications and picked out two winners. Choosing the applications of Homebase 610 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, who shared info on their after-school program for underserved schools in the area and introducing skateboarding to kids who don’t have the ability to buy a skateboard. Also, Tuesdays in Bolton, UK, whose chosen project was Empress Skateboarding, a women-led movement to empower and encourage more women to skate.

Wanting to delve more into these projects and the impact they have, we got in touch with the people behind them to get insight and further push the great work they are carrying out. 

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Parade Skate Shop Day Fund Homebase 610 - 2

Andrew Po, Homebase 610, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania:

What made you choose Push Ahead as your nominated recipient of the fund? 

We have been growing our Push Ahead program for the kids in our community after we were inspired by what Skate After School has accomplished in Arizona. Skateboarding has taught us all so much. How to persevere, how to tap into our creativity and how to be good human beings. We feel it's important to try to pass it on to future generations - especially kids who may not have access to it.

Can you give us an overview of Push Ahead and the work you are doing in the community?

Currently, we focus on bringing the Push Ahead program to the most under-served schools in our area. Kids in these schools come from families who are below the poverty line so it's unlikely they'd have a skateboard that costs $150+. We bring skateboards and helmets to the schools for the kids to use and teach them the basics of skateboarding, safety and etiquette so they know not to sit on the ramps when they do get to the skatepark. The goal is to help foster a love for skateboarding within the kids and then let skating organically grow in their lives, just like it did in all of ours.

What will receiving the money from the fund mean and what will it be used for?

Receiving the fund means we can give the kids who are most passionate about learning how to skate a new board so they can continue skating over their Summer vacation. We will also be able to refresh our inventory of boards, helmets, pads and also build small ramps for the kids to use.

Parade Skate Shop Day Fund Homebase 610 - 1
Parade Skate Shop Day Fund Homebase 610 - 4

Can you give us insight into your future plans with the school? 

Currently, we are working with three elementary schools but as our instructor & volunteer base grows, we hope to keep expanding. Our long term goal would be to work with the middle schools and high schools as well bringing in projects that focus on the creative end of skateboarding: photography, videography, zine-making, design and all the other parts of skating that aren't just physical skateboarding. I was far more interested in my photography and graphic arts classes because I wanted to do skate-related projects, so skateboarding gave me a reason to pay attention in school. The education system is broken and schools are losing incentive to provide quality creative classes to students - I hope Push Ahead can be a supplement for that.

If anyone would also like to help support the great work you are doing, is there anywhere we can direct them to?

Currently, the programs we are running just cater for the students who attend the local schools. It's our way of beta-testing our curriculum before we expand. As far as support, right now we are only looking for local skaters of all skill levels to volunteer for our Summer programs. You don't have to be ‘good’, you just have to care about the kids having fun. Any brands who are stoked on this idea who might want to collaborate, feel free to e-mail me at: shop@homebase610.com. We just started a Push Ahead Instagram too, you can follow us at @PushaheadLV.

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Parade Skate Shop Day Fund Tuesdays - 1

Stefan Schrey, Tuesdays, Bolton, UK:

What made you choose Empress Skateboarding as your nominated recipient of the fund?

Gemma has been putting these events on for two years now with no funding. After seeing the growth of the programme via social media and word of mouth, it was clear the need for a programme like this is essential for its participants in the current times as an alternative therapy option since waiting lists for professional help can take a while. Gemma and I had discussed ways of fundraising to get the programme some new equipment, to be able to cater to the growing amount of attendees and take Empress to the next level. The Skate Shop Day fund initiative came up at the perfect time and it was really a no-brainer to forward Empress Skateboarding as my nominated recipient. The money will allow Empress to reach and cater to many more Women affected by sexual assault and rape who wish to express, build confidence and empower themselves through skateboarding. 

Gemma Brennand, Empress Skateboarding:

Can you give us an overview of Empress and the work you are doing in the community?

We have been working with the local community for two years now. When we first started there were very few females skateboarding locally, so our first task was to encourage and inspire local females to give it a go. We did this by starting the first female-only skateboarding night in Lancashire and being proactive in speaking to women and girls at the local skateparks. We have steadily built a community in those two years and the local skateparks attract many more females than they did before, which is amazing to see.

Lockdown brought time for reflection and re-focusing which led to the design of the ‘reconnecting with your body’ workshops. The founder of Empress had herself been through a sexual assault and was using skateboarding as a tool for rebuilding confidence and reconnecting with her body and by this point, she felt in a place mentally where she could help others cope and rebuild their lives after experiencing an assault too. 

Empress has spent the past twelve months designing the courses, building their website, reaching out to contacts within the charitable sector and gaining valuable knowledge and insight on how to move forward and how to reach the women that this course will benefit the most - all whilst supporting women in the local skateboarding community, organising trips to skateparks and connecting local skaters with each other.

We are currently in the process of registering as a CIC (Community Interest Company), purchasing the equipment and safety gear required and continuing to work closely with the skatepark that we operate from (The Warehouse Skatepark in Leyland) to ensure that once they re-open after lockdown, we are able to run the courses as soon as possible.

Parade Skate Shop Day Fund Tuesdays - 2
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What will receiving the money from the fund mean and what will it be used for?

When we received notification that we had been selected as a cause that was worthy of receiving the Parade's Skate Shop Fund, we were overwhelmed with gratitude and spent at least an hour crying (with joy!). When we had discussed this application with Stefan from Tuesdays Skate Shop, we asked the universe to have our backs and promised that if we won, we would make sure the courses are run to the highest standard and would truly make an impact on peoples lives. To think that women will be able to receive support through this unique course is an incredible feeling.  

Receiving the fund has catapulted us forward - we no longer need to raise the funds to purchase skateboards and safety gear and we can now solely focus on reaching the women in the local community and developing as an organisation. It will also allow us to train a second skateboarding coach and focus on growing the courses to reach more women in the local community. 

Can you give us insight into your future plans with Empress? 

As we are moving out of lockdown, we are very excited to continue our female-only skateboard and open decks events that are open to everyone. We began with skateboarding and music and plan to continue down this route. As well as this, we plan to launch our therapeutic courses and reach as many women as possible through our ‘Re-connecting with your body’ workshops, also, spending time developing our confidence-building workshops and continuously develop our approach with regards to how we can make a positive impact on local women's lives through the medium of skateboarding and music. We will also be working with other local brands to organise meet ups and further support our local skateboarding community. 

If anyone would also like to help support the great work you are doing, is there anywhere we can direct them to?

Yes, they can head over to our website www.empressskateboarding.com, or to our fundraising campaign at https://chuffed.org/project/empress-skateboarding. The campaign has not yet officially launched but the page is accessible so please check it out -  chuffed.org

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