Our organisation is part of a charity called Community Resources based in Dagenham, that supports volunteers in the community working in various different projects, such as open doors which provides english classes, supports teen mums and a community hub drop in. Also there is a wonderful coffee shop run by volunteers. The project which I run is called Skates Dagenham and it is a roller skating club for teenage girl's between the ages of 13-19. It is funded by London Sport.
Barking and Dagenham has the highest rate of teen pregnancies. Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) shows 27 girls got pregnant for every 1,000 below the age of 18 in 2016 – a decrease of just over 10 per cent compared to 2015’s figures.
One of the issues that has been raised was that there isn't enough youth clubs/activities that are affordable for teenagers to take part in. In fact I couldn't find any especially for girls that was fun. This bothered me and I felt that it wasn't fair that not all teenagers could participate or be a part of a club because of certain barriers, such as costs, travel and also lack of motivation feeling incapable of learning or trying something new. This is when the idea of skates dagenham came about. I had always roller skated and ice skated during my youth and loved it. Why couldn't there be a roller skating club that was accessible and affordable for local teens.
I found out through the charity Community Resources that I could get funding which we did from London Sport. We started running our sessions on the 7th of July 2018. We run our sessions on Sundays from 5:30-6:30 at Kingsley Hall, we charge a £1 a session, provide rollerskates and wrist guards. Its a bit like a roller disco where we skate to music learn new skills and have lots of fun.
We've had over 20 girl's that have participated in our sessions and have a core group of about 10 that come each week. I'm a qualified rollerskating coach and have 2 volunteers that help me run the sessions.
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