Words by Clément Taquet & Concrete Jungle Foundation
Photography by CJF Morocco, Rémy Walter, CJF Jamaica & Steven Bullen
In our last two blogs, we have detailed how the skateboarding communities we partner with in Jamaica, Morocco, and Peru create impactful and sustainable models of skateboarding for social change. We unpacked how the thriving and exceptional work of our local partners and teams has accumulated in the establishment of robust, community-led, and locally registered non-profit organizations implementing change within their own communities. These organizations run their local skateparks and collectively impact hundreds of children on a weekly basis through the power of skateboarding.
The Freedom Skatepark, located in 8-mile Bull Bay, was established in early 2020. Since its construction, it has served a substantial number of at-risk children from both the local community and inner-city Kingston.
During and since the project's initial phases, we collaborated with various non-profit organizations, including the Sandals Foundation, Seprod Foundation, Flipping Youth, the Bull Bay FC Club, and the Tomorrow Today Festival. This collaboration gave rise to a 'super' foundation: The 'Freedom Skatepark Foundation' (FSF), comprised of the initial project partners as well as new members and community representatives.Freedom Skatepark Foundation - 2022, Kingston, Jamaica
In 2023, FSF successfully achieved non-profit status in Jamaica, marking a vital step in our sustainability model. With the generous support of Sandals, Seprod and HELP Jamaica, The Freedom Skatepark has reached financial self-sufficiency, reducing dependency on funding from Concrete Jungle Foundation towards a locally-run and self-sustaining financial model.
Starting in June 2023, we've been gradually transferring financial, managerial and operational responsibilities to the Freedom Skatepark Foundation. We anticipate that early 2024 will mark a significant milestone in CJF's history, with our first project operating independently of our organisation and with The Freedom Skatepark managed by the recently registered non-profit. This transition serves as a significant milestone for CJF’s model, beginning with skatepark construction towards locally-run self-sufficiency and long-lasting impact that aligns with the community's specific needs.Freedom Skatepark, 2023 - Bull Bay, Jamaica
Our longest-lasting project is situated in the northern region of Peru, within Trujillo, the country's third-largest city. Since 2017, we have worked with CJF Peru, constructing three skateparks, supporting local leadership, and most notably positively influencing the lives of over 600 young individuals who have actively participated in our programmes over this time.
At present, CJF Peru engages approximately 50 children on a weekly basis, providing them with access to four educational and recreational initiatives: a Homework Support Club, Edu-Skate classes, Enrichment Activities, and Girl Skate Sessions. The small but passionate team of Peruvian skateboarders oversees finance, operations and programme delivery and is, since 2023, also registered as a Peruvian organization.Enrichment Activities: Arts, 2023 - El Cerrito, Peru
The vision for Peru in 2024 involves a deliberate transition towards local autonomy. CJF will provide grants and further support and guidance in grant management towards a locally-based and sustainable funding model. This strategic move aims to support local leaders in enhancing their local scene and communities.
Congratulations to the entire team for their ongoing commitment to innovation, the consistency in programme delivery and the remarkable dedication to reaching some of the region's most vulnerable children.Edu-Skate session, 2022 - Santa Edelmira, Peru
The Fiers & Forts Skatepark was constructed on the grounds of a children's home in Tamesloht, Morocco in early 2022. Since then, it has been providing Edu-Skate classes to the 40 children residing at the center, as well as for around 100 children from the local community. Additionally, we've forged a partnership with Trait d'Union, a local charity dedicated to children with disabilities in the heart of Marrakesh, offering unique one-on-one classes for a group of adolescents.
As we approach the conclusion of our second year of activity in Morocco, we have several notable achievements to share:
In under 24 months, we are proud to announce that the team has welcomed its last international programmes manager this season. Starting in January, the responsibility for programmes delivery, finance and operations will fully transition to local management under Kamal, Moroccan skateboarders and the Center Fiers & Forts staff.Edu-Skate session, 2022 - Tamesloht, Morocco
These accomplishments underscore the tremendous progress and positive impact that CJF Morocco has achieved in a relatively short period.
Our forward-looking strategy in Morocco closely resembles our approach in Peru, where our plan is to gradually assign additional responsibilities and extend grants to the Centre Fiers & Forts. This deliberate shift in strategy highlights CJF’s commitment to self-sustainability and local empowerment as the foundations for ensuring the long-term success of the project.Event, 2022 - Tagazhout, Morocco
All of these achievements and progress towards supporting resilient communities have been made possible, thanks to the support of CJFamily and our current key partners, including THE SKATEROOM, New Line Skateparks, Vans France, Carhartt W.I.P and Mud Crew.
We are also immensely grateful for the support from organizations like the Sandals Foundation, HELP Jamaica, Moomin, Forever Playground, Antidote Skateparks, Yamato Skateparks, Paris Skate Culture, Clown Skateboards, Wall Street Skateshop, Nozbone Skateshop and Donate for Skate, as well as everyone who has supported our work and help enable the successes we have detailed in this article. We look forward to sharing with you in the near future more success stories like this.