Finsbury Park Skate Plaza: a new space for the community

by Jasmine Ward | Jan 18, 2022 | Stories

Finsbury Park Skate Plaza: a new space for the community

Looking to improve the area and encourage more people to take up BMX and skating, a group in North London set out to expand their skatepark with support from British Cycling and the crowd. 

Over the years, skating has become more and more popular. In fact, in 2021 it was an official Olympic sport for the first time, inspiring more people across the world to give it a go. 

Located in North London, the Finsbury Skatepark services a very large and diverse community. Though, made up of two bowls which are over 20 years old, the current setup is too small to accommodate everyone who wants to use it. 

Seeing the demand for the area, the Friends of Finsbury Park—a charity which seeks to improve and protect the park—came up with a plan to create a Street Skating Plaza that would be accessible to skateboards, scooters, roller-skaters, BMXs and wheelchairs.

This new park would become an iconic North London spot, promoting positive improvements to physical and mental health by connecting the community and providing job opportunities. This larger space would also cater to people of all ages and abilities, including beginners who need more space to learn, advanced boarders who need room to progress, and young people who need space to grow their confidence. Plus, the expansion would allow the area to become wheelchair accessible so those with mobility issues could also benefit from the advantages of the sport. 

After estimating the cost, the Friends of Finsbury Park set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise £45,000 which would help bring the Finsbury Park Skate Plaza to life. On why they chose to crowdfund, Bethany Anderson, one of the charity’s Trustees, said, “We had to show community support for the skatepark expansion in order to show Haringey Council how wanted the expansion was and then they would agree to match fund us.”

Through their campaign they offered some incredible rewards, including art prints by Anthony Burrill, a three course meal for two at a local restaurant, and the opportunity to have a name etched into the bowl.

In the end, their crowd of 379 supporters rallied around to raise £45,567 (and an estimated £2,151.25 in Gift Aid) for the new skatepark. This included boosts of funding from two of Crowdfunder’s +Extra funding partners. £10,000 came from Sport England’s Activate Your Space fund and a further £15,000 came from British Cycling’s Places to Ride fund. The Places to Ride fund supports the development of new, or the improvement of existing, cycling facilities and activities in communities across England. 

Bethany told us, “Getting British Cycling funding was an amazing boost for the campaign and helped secure the belief in the project needed for people to confidently donate their money. It gave it legitimacy and encouraged other smaller charities to donate. It helped us get half of our money and we are now securing the rest in sponsorship.”

Once the new park is complete, they will offer regular free starter skate lessons to encourage new members to get involved. They also hope to hold competitions and events for Plaza users!

Though it wasn’t just the funding, their crowdfunding adventure had other benefits too. She explained, “The crowdfund has connected a lot of different people of all ages who now have a tight bond and an excitement for the build which hopefully will start in summer 2022.”

After such a successful first experience of crowdfunding and receiving the +Extra funding from both Sport England and British Cycling, we asked Bethany for her top crowdfunding tips to inspire others out there thinking about starting their own project.

“Get good photos and a video explaining what you want to do. It will help get local businesses on board who will give you rewards for your campaign. Getting regular different rewards will help keep the momentum going and help the community get behind your project.”

Thinking about crowdfunding for your cycling facility? Find out if you could be eligible to receive up to £15,000 from British Cycling! 

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