On Saturday 20th July, Long Live Southbank (LLSB) and Southbank Centre will publicly open sections of the Southbank Undercroft Skate Space which have been closed to the public since 2005. This will mark a joyful conclusion to several years of joint discussions, planning and fundraising by LLSB and Southbank Centre to help reopen a space considered by many to be one of the world’s most important and iconic skateboarding sites.
Saturday 20th July will see skateboarders from across the country travel to the Southbank to enjoy the newly reopened space. There will be a free skate school from 11am - 12.30pm, followed by an open jam, competitions, best trick competitions, throwouts and general celebrations. The LLSB team, past and present supporters and project funders will be reflecting on the project from 2pm.
Elaine Bedell, Chief Executive of the Southbank Centre, said: "We're all delighted that the extended skate space in the Southbank Undercroft is now open. This is testament to a genuinely collaborative partnership between the skate community and Southbank Centre as well as a brilliant fundraising campaign by both Long Live Southbank and Southbank Centre to realise the project. Many thanks to the Mayor's office who have been so supportive."
Louis Woodhead, Campaign Manager, Long Live Southbank, said: “It is hugely important for cities to have free creative space so that people can breathe. Southbank is a great example of a space where a whole community has come together and worked for years to ensure it not only survived, but gives local young people enough space so that they can thrive creatively.”
Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries, Justine Simons OBE, said: “The Undercroft is part of our city’s cultural fabric, known around the world and open to all. Thanks to the Mayor’s funding, I am delighted that the Undercroft will continue to thrive for decades to come.”
Daniel Rose, London Officer for the Architectural Heritage Fund, said: “We were pleased to fund a development grant for LLSB at a time when it was really clear to us they would benefit from support to drive forward this exciting project. We provided a grant of £21,000 towards the project management and professional fees and services needed to get the project delivered. The cultural significance of the space coupled with an energetic and enterprising team behind the campaign impressed us and we knew it was a project we wanted to be part of.”
The Undercroft, which is managed by the Southbank Centre, has been used by skateboarders since the 1970s and is considered by many to be the home of British skateboarding. Sections were closed to the public in 2004 and 2005 due to renovation and maintenance works. The local community of skateboarders, BMXers, Graffiti Writers and other creatives approached Southbank Centre in 2013 and 2014 and a partnership was formed to develop the space. After planning permission was granted, £1.1 million was raised in a joint fundraising campaign.
The transformation of the Southbank Centre Undercroft has received £700,000 of funding from the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund which is being delivered through the London Economic Action Partnership (LEAP), the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for the capital.
Long Live Southbank received a Project Development Grant of £21,000 from the AHF in 2018 which enabled the grass roots campaign group to cover the cost of planning and architectural fees as well as vital project management and site testing.
The work has restored Southbank’s little banks, one of the most important sites in UK skateboarding history. The work will also restore the wooden ledge, a large area of flatground and create a new jersey barrier for skaters to use in the space. The LLSB campaign has been community led and is an important example of young people working together with an awareness of their space’s heritage, to create positive social change for future generations.
LLSB and Southbank Centre would like to thank the Mayor of London’s Good Growth Fund, Sport England, The London Marathon Charitable Trust, Palace Skateboards, Supreme, adidas Skateboarding, Architectural Heritage Fund and every individual donor who has helped make this restoration possible.
The reopening of the skate space is the first of a two-phase project which will also include the development of a proposed learning space.
Continuing the celebrations, from 31st July - 3rd August The Long Live Southbank Exhibition will run at Bermondsey Project Space. It will feature a detailed overview of the space’s five decade history, the LLSB campaign and the future of the space. There will be a full programme of film screenings, speakers, panel discussions and community events with three stories of photography, film and artefacts from across the decades.
More general information can be found on our website: www.llsb.com
For further press information, interviews and images please contact
Long Live Southbank:
Louis Woodhead +447835058426 Stuart Maclure +447522069783