Article By Oliver Lewis

Bridgend roller Derby looking to secure funding for a permanent home

Roller derby has been evolving as a sport since 1932. It has become a sport that symbolizes the empowerment of women and community service.

Bridgend Roller Derby (BRD) was founded in 2014 and is Bridgend’s only all-female, skater operated roller derby league. The league is comprised of strong, diverse, and independent women from all walks of life. With a growing interest and participation in the sport BRD has grown massively from 12 active members to 30 in last 6 months with a big wave of fresh meat women new to skating. Men have always played a role in roller derby, usually through supporting the female players as officials or referees. In recent years that has started to change. Men have decided they want to play, to provide an inclusive sport we are now developing a men’s team.

As a non-profit organization, BRD is committed to fostering serious competition on a national and hopefully international level, developing amateur athletes for competition, and promoting the physical and mental strength and independent spirit of amateur female and male athletes. Their dream is to develop the UK’s first purpose built Roller Derby complex. The venue will be designed with their sport in mind, ensuring a top-flight venue for games, practices and tournaments. This is an extremely unique circumstance within our sport — most leagues use spaces like warehouses, youth centres, community centres, sports halls, and convention spaces for their bouts. While functional, none of these options can provide an ideal viewing experience for spectators. Derby HQ will give them the opportunity to provide the best experience possible to their skaters and dedicated fans. Derby HQ would give BRD the opportunity to expand, engage and support more individuals to participate in the sport and become part of our skating community. Derby HQ would be able to provide a place for other leagues within Wales and across the UK to hire a venue that is suitable for all games and tournaments including the British Championships and the European Championships.

In current times community buildings & youth centres are closing down at a fast rate leaving many sports clubs, not just roller derby groups, without a safe place to participate in the sports that they love. Derby HQ will fill a gap in provisions. There are a large number of recreational skating groups in the South Wales area, to ensure that Derby HQ becomes a sustainable social enterprise, they would promote our venue to these groups. They would also host a series of Bootcamps, Coaching sessions, fundraising tournaments, disco parties, birthday parties, venue hire for other leagues to train, Charity events, fresh meat intakes, Min skills bootcamps, NSO bootcamps and in the future have an on-site skate shop to build a portfolio of income to ensure the sustainability of the social enterprise. It is hoped that in the long run they would generate enough revenue to pay a full-time member of staff to run Derby HQ, until that time they will be dependent on the commitment of their team.

There could also be potential to hire Derby HQ out to other sports teams who require space to engage and participate in sport activities. They would also like to provide a ‘derby cwtch’, which would be a place for derby lovers to come sit, relax and watch their beloved sport on a large screen on comfy sofas. America broadcast a vast number of roller derby matches and unlike other sports these are not available via sky sports or other sport channels.

They would like to subscribe to WFTDA so they can broadcast live roller derby for the skating community to come and enjoy. To ensure sustainability they would charge a fee to spectators, this would cover running costs for the centre, subscription fees and refreshments. Derby HQ could have the potential to run a refreshment bar within the first five years of running, which would generate more revenue, employment, work experience, engagement and advertisement opportunities.

To show your support, please visit the link below where you can register for FREE! This is a great opportunity for not only the Bridgend Roller Derby Team, but the entire community within Bridgend.