Everyone on Boards was founded in 2020 by Agnieszka Wood, with the aim of empowering young people and families through skateboarding, snowboarding and surfing. We arrive at one of their Friday afternoon skate sessions at Patchwork to find a space buzzing with activity. Skate lessons are taking place, young skaters are practising on the mini ramp and parents socialise. 

The social enterprise recently received a start-up grant and 1-2-1 business coaching through the Elevate programme. Elevate is a fully funded programme of advice and guidance for young businesses less than 3 years old in Waltham Forest.

Sitting down with Agnieszka, she explains that she was very active during her childhood in south Poland. “There, it’s very normal to do snowboarding and things from a very young age. When I came to London, I missed that kind of activity.” This inspired her to create similar opportunities for young people in Walthamstow, “I knew that there was a real need for this in the community”. Her sentiment is backed up by the sheer number of young skaters in the room, all there to socialise and learn new skills.

“I do not want my kids to get home from school and go straight to the TV, entering into this kind of passive state. I want them to be doing something.”

The lack of spaces for young people in the area was also a motivator behind the project. “I don’t want my kids to get home from school and go straight to the TV, entering into this kind of passive state. I want them to be doing something.” So she created Everyone on Boards; a way to help young people learn transferable skills and build the confidence to reach their full potential. Agnieszka recognised the need for a new computer for her business and discussed this with her Elevate advisor. After agreeing that this was the primary need of Everyone on Boards, she received a grant and was able to buy a new computer for the enterprise, making it easier to organise and complete the necessary paperwork.

In the early days of the organisation during lockdown, sessions would often take place in Lloyd Park. There were volunteers to help teach the participants and Agnieszka would oversee the class. One of these volunteers is now a qualified skating instructor. After the hours Jennsy put in through volunteering, Everyone on Boards enrolled him on Skateboard GB training and now he is running the skating club and delivering the programs. “It’s about teamwork and being able to give young people something. He could be doing any job but now he gets to do something he loves” she tells us. “I do all the paperwork, but without people like him I wouldn’t have been able to do this.”

Future plans for Everyone on Boards include a photography and skateboarding exhibition in October, showcasing the skating community in Walthamstow, supported by the Waltham Forest Culture Department. The exhibition will highlight everything the organisation has achieved so far.

With Waltham Forest being home to the largest number of 0-5-year-olds in the country, spaces like this are especially needed to benefit future generations. Agnieszka is passionate about making the sessions inclusive, and in particular, empowering more young girls into action sports. With ongoing support and guidance from Elevate and Waltham Forest Connected, she’ll have access to expert advice on how to reach more young people.

Find out more about Everyone on Boards on their website

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