Learn: Supporting Resilient Communities through Skateboarding


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Supporting Resilient Communities through Skateboarding

Words by Clément Taquet & Concrete Jungle Foundation
Photography by Steven Bullen & @ally.walks

What is Resilience and Why does it matter?

The communal aspect of skateboarding has always fascinated me. No matter where you go in the world, you'll find like-minded individuals, make new friends, and be welcomed with open arms. In our last blog, you will read how this welcoming, near-universal language of skateboarding is the starting point for CJF in working with skateboarding communities to address societal challenges within each skatepark location and beyond. In this blog, we turn to gain a deeper understanding of how skateboarding can build resilient communities and long-lasting partnerships that create a sustainable and scalable model of impact.

Through the years, we've encountered our fair share of challenges and learned valuable lessons. We know that our work matters; the communities we serve are a testament to why we do what we do. Regardless of how the approach evolves, our commitment to long-term impact remains unchanged; over this time we have seen how skateboarding can build and support resilient individuals and communities from which long-lasting, community-led impact can grow.

You do not need us to tell you skateboarders are naturally resilient; year-after-year falling down and getting back up to keep learning that new trick. Not only are the skateparks we built to last, but they serve as the foundation for partnering with and growing resilient skateboarding communities that are also adaptive and thrive in unfortunate circumstances:

'As the skateparks CJF has constructed have survived floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes, the local skateboarding communities are also resilient and responsive to these unexpected circumstances, developing rapid programming to address the needs of their communities after these events.'

Utilising skateboarding as a tool for social good and community development, our goal is to collaboratively work with skateboarding communities and individual changemakers across the globe by collectively utilising our unique expertise to develop skills, opportunities, income and resilience to changing circumstances globally and locally. Achieving this requires constant innovation and creative solutions at an organisational level and strong partnerships on the ground to respond to unexpected and context-specific challenges.

Girl Skate Sessions, 2023 - Bull Bay, Jamaica
Girl Skate Sessions, 2023 - Bull Bay, Jamaica

Sustainable Model for Resilient Communities

Over a period of 3 to 6 years, we invest time, resources, and energy in:

  • Building a Local Team: We provide training, mentorship, and professional development to create a skilled and dedicated workforce comprised of local skateboarders who best understand the community in which they act.
  • Securing Local Funding: We aim to secure local sources of funding from organisations that care about the community in which they are investing.
  • Establishing Local Non-Profit Status: We facilitate the creation of local non-profit organisations run by local skateboarding communities that create organisational structures to support long-term impact.
CJF project sustainability & model Girl in Jamaica putting a skateboarding helmet on

From Resilience to Sustainability

At CJF, we believe resilient local skateboarding communities are integral to the long-term positive impact on the society in which they live. This path to creating a sustainable model is underpinned by the resilience of skateboarders and requires scalability for a global impact. As each skatepark project develops strong partnerships and resilient communities, we gradually reduce our direct involvement at skatepark locations and transition to a more supportive role.

This is because each project develops towards providing the skills, opportunities, and financial support for local skateboarders to autonomously manage each skatepark, centering skateboarding communities as the decision-makers towards shaping the future of each project. This is the ultimate goal for CJF:

'To work collaboratively with local communities with each project stakeholder using their own unique expertise to provide support and opportunities towards the local skateboarding community to independently run their own organizations that address the needs of the society that they know best… this is true impact and resilience.'

It is at this point that we become observers, ready to assist and offer guidance to those communities that have achieved self-sustainability. This accomplishment not only benefits the communities we serve but also provides us with a valuable blueprint to embark on new projects, supporting new communities. It's a model that can be replicated in different locations or expanded to reach a wider audience without placing excessive demands on donor funding with a focus on investing in local changemakers with long-lasting impact.

Ready to see how this model reflects in the communities we work with? Make sure you follow us on our social media as we are preparing to release the third and final blog, "Thrive" very soon.

2023 El Cerrito, Peru
2023 El Cerrito, Peru

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