TRCH Mindgames

Flo Skatepark Returns!

19 October 18 words: Gemma Fenyn

Our Skateboarding special issue hadn’t been out five minutes when we got the sad news that Flo had been forced to shut up shop; the barmy summer heatwave had taken its toll on another small business. Fast forward a few weeks and it’s a different story, with local skaters, BMX riders, parents and organisations banding together, making Hood Townesque efforts to see the venue open again from tomorrow.

The site is now being managed by The Flo Charitable Trust, a newly formed charity with a board made up of people from the skate and BMX scene, parents, teachers and representatives from local businesses. Skate Nottingham’s
Simon Bernacki explains how they plan to work alongside the Trust to design a wider range of programmes that engage local young people, “we can now start thinking on a far greater scale about the positive activities that connect the world of skateboarding to young people’s education, volunteering and social action.”

Flo is kicking off with a Saturday morning beginner session and will remain open every day of the half term holidays. Their programme still includes a BMX only Wednesday and skateboard only Thursday and they’re also relaunching their female identifying and non-binary session; skater Armelle Pignon is excited for its return, “I’m now a certified skateboarding teacher with Skate Nottingham and started helping to teach in the ladies' sessions. It’s amazing to see how many women and girls are coming to these sessions to give it a go!” Armelle feels that the sessions provide a no pressure, friendly atmosphere where skaters could just have fun, “Thanks to Flo, Skate Nottingham and the ladies' sessions, the number of women skateboarding in Nottingham has more than doubled in just a year”.

As well as the standard programme, the skatepark plans to increase its activities to become more than ‘just’ a skatepark. This will include expanding the exhibitions based in the Section 144 Gallery, a space within the skatepark that, since October 2017, has showcased the work of a wide range of young local artists linked to the skate community, curated by skaters themselves. This will be in addition to fund-raising to develop the park into a world-leading facility for skateboarding, which will become a new Olympic Sport in Tokyo 2020, and for BMX, an Olympic Sport since 2008. Flo skatepark has a great track record in hosting UK national and international events, including the Vans Shop Riot UK Finals in 2016 and the UK Skateboarding Association (UKSA) British Skateboarding Championship in 2013.

Flo has been granted use of the site by Blueprint,
the multi-award-winning developer with a strong commitment to sustainable investments with social and environmental benefits.  The area will eventually be redeveloped as part of the ‘Trent Basin’ regeneration project, however, in the interim the Trust feel that Blueprint could not have been more generous in how they have helped facilitate their move into the park. Of course, there are plans for an eventual move to a new site, something that the gang are already working on.

Alongside Blueprint, iconic skateboarding brand Vans Shoes came forward to contribute start-up capital; a spokesperson from their Notts based Northern European Headquarters commented, “Vans is proud to promote the development of skateboarding and it was a natural opportunity to help Flo to ensure a park to service the Nottingham community, we hope it has a long and successful future”

So there we have it, don’t you just love a good success story? That little skate park what were only supposed to be open five minutes is back bigger and bolder than ever and it’s about to take this city by storm!

Find out more here. 

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