Inclusive Skateboarding with Bankleaze School "From teamwork skills to challenging themselves and delighting in their own success’s these sessions have been priceless for our children" Access Sport started a new outreach programme delivering sessions to schools in the most underdeveloped areas in Bristol, giving young people the chance to try out skateboarding. Alongside our Changing Sports Cycling programme, the project addressed gaps in provision by providing all the equipment needed as well as coaching, and bringing the fun and challenge of skateboarding to people who may never otherwise have the chance. Like cycling, skateboarding is an activity that can offer so much more than simply a skill. It teaches resilience, problem solving and is an incredible opportunity to make new connections. The skateboarding outreach programme aimed to create equal opportunities for inactive and disadvantaged young people in local schools. By engaging young people in fun and exciting skate sessions, it teaches not only the fun skill of skateboarding, but develops vital life skills like problem solving, resilience and an incredibly valuable opportunity for self-expression and individualism in environments where its often near impossible to be yourself. Changing Sports Bristol This programme was delivered to a mixed age group of students at Oasis Bankleaze, most of whom didn’t know each other at the start of the sessions. Initially, almost all the kids said they had wanted to skate but had never had the chance to learn. The program gave them the chance to do something they had dreamed of, and they used the opportunity to its fullest. These sessions have benefitted not only individuals in the group, but everyone as a whole. A teacher at the school said: “The group as a whole has built amazing resilience through falling and getting straight back on or not being able to skate and having to keep trying. Even down to the group camaraderie helping each other to get to the top of the ramp during a break from skateboarding in free play. It has been a great experience for all of our children that have attended.” Lily-Mae Lily Mae is a year 5 pupil at Oasis Academy Bankleaze. She has a tough home life, and has low self confidence and anxiety as a result. At first, she was quiet and kept herself to herself, but was immediately engaged and from week one was determined to develop her skills – her progression from week to week was incredible. As the weeks went by, Lily-Mae found her voice, was actively engaged in discussions about the sessions and was helping out other students. She was much more confident in her ability at the end of the sessions, helping with demonstrations and always smiling when skating. Lily-Mae's teacher said: "Her Mum rang the school after session 2 to tell us Lily has been practicing non stop at home. Today she skateboarded into school beaming and I watched her sail along the playground with her little sister chasing her. This is a total contrast to the way she usually enters school (head down frowny face)." Skateboarding is a great activity for marginalised groups, especially girls and females, as it really empowers the skater and develops a real sense of self esteem, confidence and pride in yourself. A Bankleaze teacher said: "From teamwork skills to challenging themselves and delighting in their own success’s these sessions have been priceless for our children who have a diverse range of needs. As a school we are looking at how we may be able to replicate the sessions in some way by purchasing a small number of boards and helmets, to continue the inspiration." Skateboarding is an incredible sport, where everyone can take something different away from it. It is a welcoming community, people are supportive and most importantly, it is a fun way to exercise and be active. Despite the challenges, it is so rewarding and teaches real determination and resilience to achieve your goal – intangible skills that will be used by these students for the rest of their lives.