With the next school holidays approaching, you will no doubt be looking for activities in London that will amuse the kids and won’t break the bank. How about introducing them to roller sports, a retro pastime that has made a big comeback over the last few years?
Rolladome, in northwest London, is a charity that aims to ‘provide a complete recreational skating package to young people and their families’ and cater for the roller resurgence.
CEO Anne-Marie Waugh said it was first set up to get young people skating as an alternative to physical exercise. She said that residents “were interested in alternative sport to get their children active outside of the traditional mainstream sports’”
Regular after-school clubs and holiday programmes were set up and over the first couple of years more than 10,000 hours of skating were delivered in Ealing and Hounslow.
Anne-Marie said, “Our charity has helped young people and families engage in sport, physical activities, life skills, social and personal development. Many of the areas we work in are disadvantaged and, with grant funding, we have been able to bring opportunities to people that would not have been possible.”
She added, “Our projects are funded by grants, donations, and participants. We have struggled to continue at times, however with the input of dedicated volunteers we have managed to develop, structure and grow, meeting many challenges on the way.”
The sessions run on Saturday and Sunday afternoons between 12pm and 3pm and include skating lessons, roller derby, artistic skating, roller hockey, roll ball and speed skating. Taking part would start with a ‘learn to skate’ club at Cranford Community College in Hounslow, which is located a stone’s throw away from Ready Steady Store, which helps them out by offering free storage space.
Anne-Marie explains that the charity would struggle to find a place for their large amount of equipment without it. “We have been with RSS Heathrow now from their original development of the site. Having the storage there has meant that we have been able to keep our delivery of programmes at an affordable rate, without increase over the last five years. This in turn has enabled us to deliver projects, programmes and events to over 20,000 young people and families.”
London is, however, lagging behind when it comes to providing for roller skaters. Despite the fact that the third International Women’s Roller Derby was held in Manchester at the beginning of February and has helped to heighten interest in the sport, Anne-Marie said, “There definitely are not adequate training facilities in London for roller sports, and it is difficult to find venues that will avail themselves of the inclusion of our sport.”
She added that the group is working towards securing a dedicated venue to allow London to be able to host championships and high-level training.
Rolladome goes beyond just roller sports and has partnered up with Capital 1Xtra to provide creative media training as part of MusicPotential, which aims to give young people the relevant skills for employment.
“Our media team delivers coding, photography, social media, music production and film production courses and services within London, for young people,” Anne-Marie explained. “We are keen to develop young people in sport, and everything that sports entails, and it is evident that music and media play a large part in sport and are great tools to engage young people.”
You might find that a visit to Rolladome will result in the kids finding a new hobby that will last long after the school holidays come to an end.