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Building Nonprofit Roller Skating Clubs with Dave Nicholls Part 2 – 016

Helping Local Communities through Roller Skating

On this week’s episode, I have part 2 of my interview with UK artistic roller skating performer, coach and community organizer, Dave Nicholls. In this episode, Dave and I talk about the Ipswich Skate Club that he started.

Now with 100s of members, Dave and his team help give less fortunate children an opportunity to learn how to roller skate. Then, those same children as they get older are transformed into competitive roller skaters and coaches to help the next batch of children who join the club.

In today’s episode, Dave and I discuss:

  • The history of the Ipswich Skating Club.
  • How Dave and his team are giving the youth he serves a path to walk to go from beginner skater to competitive roller skater to roller skating coach.
  • How he worked with his local government to start the club and get funding.
  • And some tips and advice for those of you out there who may want to try the exact same thing.

Show Notes

Here are links to the items Dave and I discussed during the show.

  • Ipswich Skating Club – The skating club Dave coaches at and founded.
  • UK Sport – Dave mentions UK Sport a few times during the episode as a good place to go for more information about the programs offered.
  • Sport England – Club development tools for building successful sports clubs.

Episode 16 Transcript

Jeff: Hey everybody welcome to the Roller Skate Dad podcast. This is episode number 16. Let’s get started. [music]
Announcer: Welcome to the Roller Skate Dad podcast. The show that covers everything and anything in the wonderful world of roller skating. Now here’s your host the Roller Skate Dad himself Jeff Stone.

Jeff [00:37]: Hey everybody welcome to the Roller Skate Dad podcast. I want to thank you guys so much for being here. In today’s episode I have part two of my interview with roller skating performer, coach and community organizer Dave Nichols from the United Kingdom. In the last episode we talked with Dave all about his career as a roller-skating performer. Where he traveled all across the United Kingdom and performed in front of live audiences doing artistic skating. In this episode Dave and I talked more about his time in his adulthood working as a community organizer and a roller skating coach in the town of Ipswich. As you learned from the last episode Dave grew up in a pretty rough neighborhood and roller skating as he put it really saved his life and now Dave is giving back to the community as well as the sport that helped him all those years. Let’s have a listen to part two of my interview with Dave.

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Jeff [01:38]: So you’ve got back into it because of your daughter as well it sounds like that’s exactly how I got back to skating after yeah 15 years of not skating. How the kids bring you back.

Dave [01:53]: I never ever ever thought that I would ever ever put a pair of skates again. I never thought I’d wanted to be perfectly honest. Because every time I thought about it I sort of chocked up. But that’s how I started skating and then came along, because you have to.

Jeff: [02:18]: Yeah let’s talk about that for a minute. So, you know the Ipswich skate club which is what you are you know affiliated with and running now. You know maybe tell the audience a little bit about what Ipswich skate club is and how it got started.

Dave [02:33]: okay well but mostly people probably knows that I came to the wrong end of the tracks and people helped me a lot, which is what me got out of it, well how I got out of it. I got out of it through skating. When 20 to 23 years ago bit more than that I was running a special needs education so far. That’s for people that aren’t really achieving in schools, I was also running what was called cruise. Which these are people referral units which work for kids like me that got expelled from school. Usually there’s a reason for it. Most of their time the kids are quite good they come from bad homes, things have gone wrong in their life when it’s just rebellion. Most teachers just want to teach their subject. If you’re looking at academic is a thing called Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Basically, unless you feel comfortable and you got enough food in your belly and feel good just people why are you going to listen to some guy from spouting about math’s. Isn’t going to happen. Unless you get that sort of things sorted out it is pretty pointless saying to people oh well you’ll be really good a class student do this. Especially if the life you led means that you’ve lost four or five years of your education. One of my units was based in place called Gainsborough in Ipswich. Which was or what sort of social deprived area in mine. Basically, it like the place I come from Attica. A very high crime rate. The kids really the schools just didn’t do anything. But they live on, they’re trying. It was just you know that the challenges were very great. I’ve got kids backed up who they couldn’t send them to high school. Because academically they couldn’t cut it and socially they couldn’t cut it. So, I got them in my units. So, what happened was they all said there’s nothing for them to do. Which was why they’re out on the street. Cause it may. So, I went to the local authority, the rink that was about 15 miles away markers should have closed down. So, with a lot of skaters that wanted to skate, but you don’t know. I went to local authorities and said look I want something initially for the kids around here. They’ve got nothing and there was a wonderful man that’s called Steve Kent was the operations manager. Who came from Liverpool and he came from the wrong end of the tracks of Liverpool. So, he got it. He understood what I was saying. Yeah but we tried this, we got all the skates, we got everything. But we tried it. We just can’t control these kids. They are nuts. So, I said well that’s what I do. Just give us a go. But I want to make it so cheap that these kids can come here. I want to do it for a pound a session. He said I can give you a go Dave. So, the first week we had 14. The second week we had 30. The third week we had 60. The fourth week we have 90 at which point I started to panic a bit. Because I got 90 kids in a badminton sports hall. That’s quiet, well they wouldn’t fall over because they got room. But the thing we were selling was obviously working. So, then Steve said well look can we that’s another area which again the socially deprived 9. So, the two worst areas that we did that. The local authority got it. I said okay now what I’m going to do to help, I am going to recruit a lot of the people that were skaters and that’s how it developed. I ran it. It’s where what’s called a cask. That’s a community monitor supports. Basically, it’s a light touch charity. It means that we make no money end of it. Nobody gets paid. The local authorities in the last 22 years has been paying us as a club to run the skating pavilion at Ipswich. That money goes directly into the club. Because we’ve got kids coming from these sorts of areas that we’ve finished up with gab on their back and of course their parents can’t afford it. So, the thing is that if people hadn’t helped me, I wouldn’t get the chance and so thing is that the money goes towards that sort of thing and we are the cheapest thing, sports provision in Ipswich and Ipswich local authority has always allowed us to do that. What happens that people come in, they take the money, they organize them they get them in. Then once they come at the doors we take over and look after them. We are the only club of any sort they’ve got on what’s called an iCard. Either you get the page you go iCard or if you leave more than two sessions a week it makes sense to get one of these things. Which you’re only going to be paying if you’re a kid four pound a week and you can come every night and play badminton or table tennis or you know all these sorts of things and they put skating on. So as a club it means that our kids if they want to can get an iCard and roller skating provision which we provide in Ipswich they learn to skate and then everything else after that, that’s once we taught and we skate going to do something with it. What happens then is they can do artistic or they do speed, or we do a bit of hockey. I don’t think we’re nowhere near as good at hockey. I just call it coming each other with a stick or anything. The kids like it and of course skating is so wonderful. Because you can do it as a family. There are so many different aspects of it and it’s one of the few things you can do as a family. Yeah you can swim together. But it’s difficult to talk to your kid with a mouthful of salt water. You can cycle together. But you know if you’re talking to and kicking like with skating there are so many different versions you know. You’ve got hockey, got speed, you’ve got artistic. We enroll. So, they can just come, and chill out enjoy themselves. We put a situation where people don’t just have to compete and that’s why we keep people you know you get a girl fifteen, sixteen, seventeen. She’s been operating at national level competing. You’ve then got to do exams. She can’t, she can’t give that commitment anymore. So, what happens with most skating clubs is they then lose them. We don’t make an escape winners. Here we have a national organization which is paid for by the government. Which is responsible to make sure the sport works in Great Britain at grassroots levels. Now because of the fact that I’ve operated as a fencing and I’ve operated all the way through I understand the system and done work exporting them and also. So, I know how the system works. Most skaters don’t. Because they haven’t done this. So, the thing is that when I put things in when I devised a training program I devised it, so it fit in exactly with what sporting they wanted. So, we’ve got the only skating program that is accepted by the children’s university in great which is an international charity. So, you know when kids are skating with us, if in the children’s university they can come and get that little cards done. Which means that they’re doing other activities. So that acts as a bonus. Our system is accepted by UK sports leaders. So, with the system that we use, I’ve devised, and we teach can be used anywhere and is actually if you like accredited as an accredited system. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t teaching systems out there for all the different disciplines. There are, but the difficulty is they’re not accredited to anybody. It’s just a discipline that says like this is what we suggest you teach. Now the system what we’ve got, I did it as a generic, so it teaches you book the standard where you could access any of the escaping disciplines. It could be roller guarding, it can be hokey, inline or quad. It can be speed skating. They all fit. But the thing is that it’s a very basic program. They get certificates and everything. But it goes, it means that kids we can squirt them through really quickly. It gives what kids want. Every week they come or anytime they come they will learn something. A system that works and this is what kids want. They want to feel progressing. We have a thing called off stand over here which most schools take. Which means that you know you are graded on your ability to be able to teach and deliver and you have to have a syllabus that’s acceptable. Well as a club because of how we operate with the local authorities, we’ve been graded four times in 22 years, outstanding on every single… There are very very few schools, actual schools with high grade as outstanding and of course once you’ve got that, what happens that is the local authority likes you. Because they can see where you’re going. They will support you. We work in schools now. We’ve got a session that we’re running and that gave a local authority asked us to do this and they organized it all. I told you Gainesville is supposedly very very, well it’s not now all good. It’s still technically classed as a very poor area. But there’s been a lot of redevelopment in there. Building things. But the school there is which academy used to have one of the worst reputations anywhere really. New young management team went in there, made these kids work absolutely zero tolerance for any deviation at all. These kids work, and they make them, and they said management team that worked their socks off. But they realize there needs to be another side of it. So, the school pays four days a week or after-school activities for these kids that couldn’t normally pay for it. So, four days a week these kids if they want to be completely free and go to engagements for something which is just literally by the side of the school and they can get an hour of spree sport. Now with skating we can get mass participation. So, you know on a Friday 3:30 to 4:30 I’ve got fifty kids down there or skating.

Jeff [12:44]: nice how big is the club?

Dave [12:47]: we are dealing, and I mean that seriously because we’re multi-site. So, the thing is we do the same sort of thing in fingered stone which is just up the road where we live. But we’re dealing with between 200 and 250 kids. Well not just kids, people every week 50 weeks a year.

Jeff [13:05]: that’s great and I mean you started with, I mean this is all brand new. How long have you guys been doing this? How many years has this been going?

Dave [13:13]: 22 years.

Jeff [13:14]: 22 years. But I mean you started with zero right?

Dave [13:18]: First time 14 people and sometimes you want you can see we’ve got one of the coaches she is being with us for all that time right from the start. It was quite an, he always tells people’s they don’t believe it they come to announce sessions. You’ve got fifty people on each one. At the lower ends of course when you’re going up and you’re dealing with the kids that are competing you can’t put fifty of them in a sports room there’s not room. So, the thing is their session is about thirty going up to international standard or the national standard, you’ll have ten or fifteen. All of this by the way and this is why it’s so successful because of the local authority. Once a kid gets on a national co-op and their attitude complete at national level, nothing they do that has to be paid for. A position of authority gives them a free iCard, so they can come to all the sessions for free.

Jeff [14:16]: nice that’s awesome.

Dave [14:18]: it is. You’re talking about you know I’m not saying that they’re the only local authority doing this. But very few of them doing it. But the thing is it’s like my daughter. I mean she just got out today and she came back from teaching school, dropped her stuff and I saw her, and my son-in-law shot out with the skating gear. He’ll go down he is a speed skater. So, he can’t really operate inside. He goes a bit too fast. But she’ll be off, and she will have a figure patch and then she’ll go to the gym. So, she will be there training for an hour and a half every night, completely free. Because she’s operating at a national standard. So, they just give it up for free.

Jeff [15:09]: so, I mean you guys really work a lot with your local authority. It sounds like with your local government to kind of get this going.

Dave [15:16]: well to be honest I keep saying to people I don’t understand… We are not unique and a couple of places I’m talking about up north. They saw how well we worked, ran to their local authority and guess what? They’ve got exactly the same response that we did. You know the thing is a lot of clubs don’t… You’ve got to do it right. You know like we carry ten million pounds of insurance. All our coaches are trained. We have a training program which trains our coaches how to teach. Not just teaches technical side but deal with kids like the ones that we’ve got. We have a situation where at which we work with surface sport. Which is the if you like the region on the side and we’re the only club that operates in this way. We’re a skating club. once kids get about thirteen with us, fourteen not all of them want to compete. Some of them have very good academics, they can’t afford the time, or they’ve got other interests. I don’t know if this is the same in your country. But over here lots of sports have problems getting volunteers to work within the sport and you’re getting a lot of young people now that are staying with the sport. Once they stop they just go. So, your coaches aren’t being replaced, your volunteers do other things within the clubs are not being replaced. So, they introduced this system called top leaders. Which means that any kid who’s volunteering to help with a club or help organize things at county level sport wise gets rewards. You know they do fifteen hours and they get a t-shirt, maybe thirty hours and at the moment they’re getting these little power bank things that they can charge their phones up and stuff like that. They do fifty hours they get or they get a sports bag. So, everything is rewarded. They feel part of the team. What happens there we’ve taken it further; the club pays for this; the kids don’t. When they show that they’re committed, and they’ve done about 40 to 50 hours volunteering with us, we will then train them on what’s called the national sports leader’s program. Now this some schools can do this and do this up to NVQ fee. That’s national vocational qualifications. For some schools. Which is basically equipment for what we would call no level here. NVQ three is equivalent to a level. This is the what you would do before you’re going to a level, as before you going to university. So, the thing is that it’s usually about two-year course. But we as a club are qualified to actually deliver that. So effectively they can start with. Technically by the time they’re 18, our girls or boys if they wish to can have a level and NVQ 3 in sports leadership with a bolt-on for skating. So, they go to university with maybe their normal for a level, but they go with another one very practically all in. Which is in everything that an employer would want. Because it’s about planning. It’s about health and safety. It’s about communication skills. It’s actually about teaching sport. But of course, a lot of these skills are transferable so either a job or the sort of thing that you’d want at a university or a college. I mean basically what you’re really saying when you go to your university is I spent the last three years helping my community and I can prove it. Now that’s the sort of person that you’re going to take for university. Because they prove that they’ve got the guts and the determination to do it. They are getting back, they are organized and of course you’re teaching people how to organize themselves to do this sort of thing. Which means that they good at cramming an awful lot into their life and again that part of that team.

Jeff [19:34]: so, I mean you’re really taking kids off the street, bringing them in to these different sports halls and skating halls that you have teaching them how to skate and then it sounds like through this volunteering system that you guys have built in the program you’ve built they’re eventually becoming your teachers for the next set of kids that come in.
Dave [19:56]: now interestingly and that’s sometimes it will be interesting for you to get to talk just one of these people. Because I mean this to me is one… If I’m proud of anything is that. This stuff that we’re doing at these schools at the moment at Ipswich academy is base alright I’m supervising it. But it’s basically being run by some of the kids that have been at the academy for without the academy near tens and elevens. But the thing is they’ve been skating with us since they were eight or nine. So, what’s happened is these kids are run more or less running these although I’m supervising. But these kids at the school are coming to learn to skate are being taught by their peers of the people that can do this sport and then work with us are actually giving back to their own community that on the school community. Which is why none of these kids have kicked off. You know because they are noted apparently for kicking off and being absolutely horrible and on a Friday afternoon I mean we do that. We don’t suffer fools you know nobody’s going to mess about and they’re doing it and it’s working and then interestingly the local authority wrote to us a couple of weeks ago, actually congratulating these kids. I’m proud of this than anything else. They’ve written and said that these kids are a credit to the plot and I mean they seen them. I mean the local authority staff are watching this. One of the local authority staff actually said Dave I wouldn’t want to be in there with those kids and they’re perfect. I know it’s the truth. 50 of these kids have not put a foot wrong. They’ve been wonderful. So, what happens you see we give them reward. I said to him in the second week I was really enjoying it, they’re being so good I said look if you can unlock this what’s going to happen we’ve got a full disco rig, lasers are locked. Which I’m going to talk to your teachers and what we’re going to do is the last session that we run for you before Easter, we carry on in the Easter holidays this would carry on in the school time, in the school all through these deities. I said what we’ll do is we run it as a full disco. Then I have to get used to have the lights turn down and think so each week we’re going to teach you some of the games and the dances we’re doing a lot with the disco. But we will put this in from you completely free. We will bring the whole rig then and that is what is going to happen, and I think you’ve seen us. it’s reasonably impressive. But you see these kids so that there’s a value added. There’s a reason behind. There’s a reason to try. There’s a reason you want to learn to go backwards. There’s a reason you want to learn some dumb steps. Because couple of weeks you’ve got to be in the full disco situation.

Jeff [23:07]: so, tell me a little bit about how you actually get the community interested in skating. You know how do you get the word out and how do you get you know more kids to want to come and actually be part of the skate club?

Dave [23:21]: we’re very very lucky. Because in Ipswich the local authority there’s quite a bit of this sport. Because they do the advertising flawless and local authority advertiser they’ve got swimming all the rest of it. They doing these things. But to be honest I mean it’s like in phoenix that when none of this happens. Because the local authority there, it’s a different situation. They don’t do this sort of provision normally. But you see you don’t have to. A, a lot of this gets passed down on social media. But also, if you’ve got a good product you don’t actually have to sell it. People sell it for you. The thing is that these kids go to school and say this was fantastic, come along they want their friends there. The parents come along, because most of the parents especially the younger kids bring their kids along and we get parents skating too. But the thing is they see the kids are enjoying it and that the school gave, they say we went skating last week. Why don’t you come it’s fantastic? You know the kids never mess about. They’re not allowed. I mean it’s like if my wife is giving out skates, she expects them say please and thank you. They won’t get the skates unless they said please and thank you. As far as concerned these kids behave as they would if they’re in our house. You might not like your brother. But you’re not going to laugh on him if he falls over. You’re not going to and you know it’s not cooling to say I can’t do that. You can’t do it yet. But if you practice you better do it. You know if we are teaching we expect you to be there where you know we’re teaching now. So, you come along, and we put games into them. There’s a set format, on our website there everything’s. But the thing is we’ve done it in a way that it basically sums itself. Our problem, our main problem is we’ve never got enough room. We have to turn people away because we just don’t have the room.

Jeff [25:37]: because these sports centers and sports halls just aren’t big enough?

Dave [25:41]: no, I mean in there for badminton sports hall you can only get 50 people socially. You can only teach them to learn to skate then. Once the skating beach then they need more room. What used to happen they used to be an incredible I mean in my day there were probably more than 300. Now I know of eight, I think they were probably 12.

Jeff [26:07]: wow that’s a huge decline.

Dave [26:09]: well you see it’s probably a very much like it is in the states. What’s happened these rinks will usually not be built by local authorities. They were private things. They were built on the cheapest loan. They were built in the cheapest land was in the deprived areas. The deprived people have got nothing to do apart from going to the skating rinks or going to the bowling or whatever. So, the thing is they went there. Now these places got gentrification. So, the thing is they’re worth more. They’re all probably or they were owned by people about my age or maybe a little bit younger. Then what’s happened, one of two things has happened. Either they’ve been sold off because that land is worth an awful lot more than you can get from putting a skating on it or the prices have gone up to the point where yes, it’s cool to go skating maybe once a week because it’s not cost you 60 pounds for a family of four. You can’t afford to stay properly there. Because to train, you know you’ve been there you know how long you’ve got to train to be good? Yeah exactly. So, the thing is that most people now just cannot afford. We are the cheapest I think anyway we’re the cheapest club in Great Britain and that’s very conscious. Most flat clubs having to pay to three times what they from our club and if I see nothing wrong with people making money from skating. Nothing wrong with somebody running it as a commercial composition. A lot of coaches in Britain do that, some don’t. You know you’d pay to learn to ballroom dance might even be paying to learn to skate. My concern is the fact that other people I want to get skate and doing things just can’t afford that.

Jeff [28:05]: so, I mean it sounds like the way you guys are doing it, I mean what is a person that comes to one of your sports halls normally have to pay to get in?

Dave [28:15]: they pay depending on which session they would pay three pounds. 3.50 maximum. Now I don’t know what that is in dollars. That was about one dollar and 2 at the moment is it that?

Jeff [28:28]: yeah it’s probably our four dollars something like that.

Dave [28:31]: and that’s the maximum that pay. Now bear in mind because we’re working with local authority things are iCards, that enables the local authority to identify if these people on social benefits. Now if they’re on social benefits they get a reduction on that price.

Jeff [28:49]: I see so it is really quite affordable then at that point?

Dave [28:54]: yes, my view is always, it’s a bit like wallets. You know you probably hide and sell it cheap. By the thing is that, it’s a numbers game. The more people you’ve got doing it you’re safe you know most places in the summer sort of closed down, there was somebody l. The thing is that we can keep going, the cookie we might find on numbers go down from 50 to 40. But you know it’s still making money to the local authority and quite frankly we don’t care. Because it’s hot and we we’re under quite as much pressure.

Jeff [29:31]: so, you guys have these three sports halls there in Ipswich that you guys are using. But I think you were telling me on a previous call that the local authority is actually thinking about building you guys your own rink.

Dave [29:44]: we have a situation where we’ve two sports halls in Ipswich and we use one schools sports in phoenix stone. That’s is the biggest container port in Great Britain and it is just growing and growing and growing and there was a proposal to put another.. There is a proposal from another 10,000 houses in the phoenix stone area. You then have got put all the infrastructure and the sports provision in phoenix stone was quite tired and will not be capable of kind of coping with that. So, the Suffolk coastal authority looks after phoenix stone has a proposal at the moment to ax the current facilities including stone which are getting towards the end of their life. Build a new six court badminton court sports facility with a big pool there as well. The idea now is to produce I was asked to do a plan tonight to produce a separate facility, which has a bowling rink underneath it and a skating facility above it. Very much like the sorts of things I grew with.

Jeff [31:03]: that’s neat. That’s so cool.

Dave [31:06]: well it gets better you see. Because a you’ve got old people, because most people who do the bowling is old and you’ve got young people together. Which wouldn’t normally mix, and you can use the same more than rest of you got there. But the key k is this then becomes a go-to place for all roller squads for the whole of east Anglia. Because we have a better facility than anything else. The next best cool thing is in the summer months when the bowling facility isn’t being used, I can board this out underneath and I then can run it as a commercial rink as well and as far as a thing just for… So, you finish up in a seaside town with basically a two-tier roller rink. Very much like the tootsie roll I think I grew up with.

Jeff [32:01]: well that’s got to be kind of cyclical for you. I mean like going back to the past.

Dave [32:07]: when they told me about this and I came back home I said to my wife I said I can’t believe it we’ve been going through all this sort of thing and now they’re suggesting this, and its things done full circle. But you see it becomes commercially viable. Because in the summer everybody comes if it rains, although they don’t take the kids skating out there in the winter the communications are so good around here we can still work. You’ve got a place where all the kids can go and everything and it’s a family thing. Because you see we are charity. We would not run this at a profit. We don’t want money out of it. We are set up on a model that does not allow us to take money out of it. That’s what people always help us. Everything we do goes back into the community. But then it got even better. Because in Ipswich which is ten miles down the road where we started and do an awful lot they found out about it, what happened then is Ipswich would role me in and say well Dave you know you’ve got these consultants in to the operative plans for support developments to develop the local authority on next few years. You know we do this. If this thing kicks off what are you going to do about the skating? I said I’m just going to keep it going and the thing is what happens it acts as a catch. You know people get start here, it’s on their doorstep and then they’d go to there. Because the fact they said well couldn’t you put a plan in here. So, I went for a little bit the local authority of money phoenix done has an offer on a property. Very very big shops. It owns an awful lot of industrial units, both single and double span industrial units. Which often look quite good in skating. But in the current economic climate some of these aren’t just dark shops and dark, they’re just got used. They’re just sitting there dead. So, I said well okay this is just a thought, it would cost probably you’ve got these units which are not making any money. Because nobody’s in them and in the current economic climate Brexit on it, there’s not likely to be many people in those four, five years. Why don’t let us take over one of those units or one of those shops which some of them are huge. They’ve got the lighting in, they’ve got the flooring already or you can put a leveled flooring very easily. You’ve got all the communication. Most of these things are, I don’t know if you have these industrial estates. What happens you’ve got all the shops, you got the restaurant, you’ve got everything there and they just plunked. It’s a bit like your mouse all these big shots. We can do that, we can dump it in to convert it back to a shop or whatever is really going to compile it cheap to do. We won’t have to pay rates, because we’re a charity. But also, you decide on the rates anyway. We don’t want the money. So, this go back into the community. Local authority and this means we get proof of concept. We can get one of these things up in a year 18 months. If we get anything in phoenix up and play three or four years, basically if you’ve got proof of concept even the fieldstone thing definitely gets bill or if I can prove it works you might want to just keep it down here or you might decide it’s worth building this sort of unit, like the phoenix people from phoenix don’t still come. People from Ipswich it was in phoenix don’t go over there, because they are 10 miles apart. All the public you know that the roads are there, the public transports there and I get the chance to put an effort all those tips up and doesn’t work without spending much money we all find out.

Jeff [36:18]: wow that’s really interesting. So, you’re basically able to get one town to say yes and because that one town said yes then the town you’re currently and says hey we want some of that too.

Dave [36:30]: yeah this would only work for one of these things. But I think there’s a pretty good chance now we’ll get one up. My view is the fact that if you’re trying to get skating to progress you’ve got to work out where the power is, where the money is and who can help you to do it. What you do then is you’ll approach them, and you say what can we do to help you achieve what you need to do in your area and this is the schools, or the local authorities and I don’t know how it works in the state. It will work the same sort of way.

Jeff [37:10]: it’s interesting since the last time you and I spoke, I actually did a little bit of research here just in my city and Austin and I was actually able to find out that one of the skating rinks that we have here it’s actually in kind of a sports hall similar to what you’re talking about. It’s like a multi-sport center and it’s on the east side of Austin and it’s called millennium skate park and it actually is very similar to what you’re doing. It’s basically a sports facility that the city owns and operates, and they actually run not necessarily a skating club like what you have where you’re teaching all this stuff. But they have lots and lots of sessions for kids where they can come and skate for just a few dollars a session and I actually haven’t even been there yet. It was something I was going to try to go do here over the next week just because I haven’t been to that skating rink before. But you know I was curious to know I mean with all the experience that you’ve had kind of doing this with nonprofits, there are I’m not sure if you’re aware or not but here in the united states we have a number of states that used to have skating rinks and now they’re gone and so we have entire states you know potentially like hundreds of miles where there’s no skating center at all anymore and so I was curious if you would think that maybe a nonprofit model like this might work here in the states as well.

Dave [38:42]: I think it probably would to be honest. I mean interesting you said in Austin you’ve got something that’s working that way. Now what I think one of the reasons that ours is went well is we actually train people, we teach people. We get them better. We don’t just leave them to get on with it. That’s one of the things that the schools really like. You know we go in and I mean for working with the school, they’ve realized that what we’re actually teaching, and I think that’s the way. It doesn’t have to be skating. I think this is the one thing that the sport does for people. It actually teach your life skills. You know it teaches you to be a better human being. Not all the time, but that’s what most people get out of it. You get this you learn to be part of a group, a part of a team. You learn that I mean I always use the analogy in class and the one thing a skating teaches you is a very important life skill. You fall over, you get up again. You don’t bitch, you don’t complain, you don’t blame anybody else. There’s only one person that got you on the floor and that’s you. So, you get up again and you do it better next time. You learn by the mistake I made and that’s what skating to be honest. That’s what lots of sports do. But the kids get that you know, you fall. Yeah you fall over okay so that’s all right, you get up and you know what made you fall over? No right what made you fall over was this. If you do that again fall over. Don’t it, don’t it. We have it this way, I quite enjoy our often you know it’s quite traumatic for a young kid who has never been on skates before to come skating the first time. You know you see 50 people whizzing round like mad and you thought oh my god I’m going to die. You know so we did this with this school. I just and what I want you to do just get them over here. You know your kids can be a bit bushy. Once they’re in front of me there won’t be a problem, just get you frog march them over here, you stay five minutes. I hadn’t realized she’d actually been on some of my courses in education. I didn’t recognize her. I recognized when I saw, I didn’t recognize the name because she got married. So, I didn’t recognize her. So, she and she came. these forty odd kids over and they all stood in front of me and I said yeah who skated before? Sort of the kids I already knew and there’s don’t mess him about. Why? He seemed really sorry, he’s not, don’t mess him about. Really you don’t want to do that. I turned around Ans said listen to that? There’s a reason. Why? I said you don’t want to find out mate. You just don’t want to find out. I said put your hand up if you’ve never skated before and half of them gingerly put their hands up and I said right you’re all going to die, and everybody did just what you do, they all laughed because I’ve got a big grin up. I said okay you’ll be fine. Look you know these are people that you know that they’ve not died, you’ll be okay. That woman wish she had died. You know and everybody’s and they know that at that point that you’re is this, when you go in you listen, you do exactly as we tell you when you’re go in. You’re going to go in that door, you can put your kit there, you are going to go there to get your stuff, you’re going to sit down and silent. Because otherwise you’ll fall over. I don’t want you to do that, I don’t want you to hurt yourself and they all got it. I said they know we’ve got all these kids that can help you look skated beautiful. But going back to the nonprofit yeah I do think it would work and I think the trick is the people and if there’s anything we can do to help any of your guys over there, we will do. Because I just I think skating can do so many… I mean over here roller guarding. I did it in my youth for money. This was bank check not the sort of stuff that’s not, there’s nothing wrong at all with flat-track a lot of women who would normally never get to skate or do any sport involved. It’s the biggest growth in British skating and over here a lot of people cuckoo it. Now I can’t see any reason for cuckooing it. They are very well organized. It’s only. It was a bit of a shame they don’t I’d love to see it going. But they don’t. But there’s a lot of adults, a lot of which come because afterwards they go to a pub. They go out drinking, they socialize. But we have some very very very good on skill grow on Darby players over here and but it’s not really skating. Yes it is, it’s just a different aspect of the sport. But you know this is the one thing that I’d get very upset about. In my day most people tended to do more than one version of the sport alright. I did a bit of speed skating. Hockey was a bit too rough for me. But the thing is, and I realize that hockey’s fantastic and could for a lot of people. So, we do hokey. But the thing is that over here you know there is this British elitism thing which I really don’t like. You know oh my version is better than yours, my club is better than yours and that’s not it. We are we do everything. As far as I’m concerned everybody in our club is concerned speedskating is as good as artistic skating. It’s just different. It is as good as speed skating artistic, it’s just different.

Jeff [44:36]: I feel like you know roller skating is such a small sport in that it’s been decreasing over the years. Especially the people who do anything competitively and you know I’ve been to some of the national tournaments here in the united states and have seen like the artistic skating, pretty much it is probably shrinked by more than half since I competed back in the 80’s and 90’s. So, I don’t feel like we as a community really have the ability or that it would be smart for us to diversify ourselves into these individual little niches and fight each other when we’re just trying to save the entire sport as a genre.

Dave [45:24]: it’s all various versions of one family and I think if I’m brutally frank I think, and I don’t know if it’s the same with skate in the states. But I think one of the reasons as, there are so many other things competing my whole life sort of you know you’ve got to work harder, you’ve got to academically, you’ve got to do more, you’ve got video games. People aren’t prepared to go, I mean it’s not just skating. Most sports of… I don’t know if this is happening in America. But in Britain most sports are formed has gone back an awful lot. But I think the way to get it going is grassroot. The only reason our club is so successful is because we have a hell of a lot of people on the grassroots. You know we have a very very flat pyramid. I think the thing is and that’s I think the thing if you get a lot of people doing it, you’re sorted. If you’ve got a few people doing it and you lose two people you’ve got a problem.

Jeff [46:32]: yes absolutely. So, with the experience you have I’m to know for those people that are out there potentially listening to me in states where there aren’t any skating centers for them, what advice would you give to someone that you know wishes they had a skating rink or a place to skate but doesn’t. You know what do you think they could do, or you know because a lot of times people say you know what am I going to do, I’m only one person?

Dave [46:58]: I think that’s the first thing, the first thing you’ve got to do is you come, I mean everybody… A lot of people seem to think I’ve done this, and I haven’t. The thing is that the reason this has been successful is we built a team to help. The first thing I would probably done social media will help them do it. First thing find a few like-minded individuals. You don’t need many. You just need a few to start. The second is just treat it like a business. You do a business plan, a good business plan that you can sell or now if you do a business plan doesn’t mean it’s going to be a full of profits business plan. It means that you’ve got to work out what you need and how you’re going to get it. Some of this stuff is there and you people can use be very happy to provide it for free. Out there and the thing is if somebody wants to start something up skaters don’t seem to get it. But sporting in the UK sport have put tremendous amount of free resources out online. So okay first of all where are you? If you’re an existing club that’s losing their facilities, have you got the wherewithal, the people with the correct skill portfolio to take it forward. If you’re starting up have you got people with the right still portfolio. If not how do your skill the people you’ve got up to do? It it’s all there. You can access it for free. Anybody out there that wants to get in touch with me, my wife will kill me for saying this, is more than welcome to and if there’s any way we can help can talk like we’re doing now. We can give them any resources we’ve got. Seriously because my view is the only reason we’ve done so well is because other people help me. Now my view is the fact that you do the same for other people.

Jeff [49:09]: so, Dave if people want to find out more about you or the skate Ipswich club where should they go?

Dave [49:18]: right the easiest thing is to just hook you straight in. Look for www.Skateipswich.Com.

Jeff [49:27]: well Dave I want to thank you so much for being on the podcast. This was a lot of fun.

Dave [49:31]: seriously I hope it’s been useful.

Jeff [49:33]: awesome, well and I will talk with you later all right bye-bye.

Jeff: Alright well that sure was interesting. I want to thank Dave for spending so much time with me and talking to me about his history as well as the skate Ipswich club. I hope you found these last two episodes with Dave interesting and hopefully you learned something along the way as well. If you would like to get more information about today’s show or get a transcript of the show please be sure to check out the show notes. The show notes are a great place to leave me a comment or ask a question or to find links of anything that we talked about during the show. To get to the show notes for this episode go to www.rollerskatedad.com/16. If you’ve been listening to the Roller Skate Dad podcast you know here at the end I always ask you for a rating and a review on your favorite podcasting platform. Downloads ratings and reviews or how podcasts get ranked on many of the platforms. So, if you’d like to help the Roller Skate Dad podcast out I’d really appreciate a rating and a review wherever you listen and thank you. If you’re not a member of the Roller Skate Dad club you’re going to want to join. Sign up is fast and easy. All it takes is your name and your email address and you’re in. The Roller Skate Dad club is a great way to stay in touch with me, stay up-to-date on what’s going on with the show as well as the www.rollerskatedad.com website. Plus, you get easy access into every monthly contest where I give away free roller skating gear. Head on over to www.rollerskatedad.com to join the skate club today. All right everybody that’s another episode in the books. I want to thank you guys so much for being here and until next week get on out there and skate.

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Jeff Stone

Jeff Stone started the website RollerSkateDad.com back in 2015. The site specializes in roller skate reviews and advice about skates and all things roller skating. When Jeff isn't skating with his two daughters Lily and Violet, he enjoys writing code, cooking, watching movies and hanging out with his wife Claire and their german shepherd, Electra.

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