Auld Reekie Roller Girls are extremely proud to be one of just five shortlisted People’s Projects from the STV East region who are in with a chance of securing a share of National Lottery funding.
As a not-for-profit sports club, this would make an enormous difference to us. We applied for the funding to help us rebrand our club, recruit more members, and put on a celebratory community event.
In 2017, our members voted overwhelmingly in favour of rebranding Auld Reekie Roller Girls in order to make our league more inclusive and accessible. We actively work to promote a climate that is welcoming and inclusive of transgender, intersex, non-binary and gender expansive participants, and our name needs to reflect that.
By dropping the “Girls” element of our name we will signify that any individual who identifies as a trans woman, intersex woman, as non-binary and/or gender expansive may skate with Auld Reekie if women’s flat track roller derby is the version and composition of roller derby with which they most closely identify, and that we welcome all genders to join as officials or non-skating members.
A full rebrand costs a lot of money. We are a DIY sports club and are completely not-for-profit. We generate income through membership fees, merchandise sales, and home games. From 2009 – 2017 we held our home games at Meadowbank Sports Centre, which was closed at the end of last year. Unfortunately, we have been unable to find a suitable venue for regular home games, which means that our projected income has dropped drastically.
While we are starting to change our name behind the scenes, a share of the People’s Project funding would allow us to go full steam ahead with a full rebrand, including our logo, website, merchandise, and team uniforms, thus taking important steps in our work to be as inclusive and accessible as possible.
We believe that roller derby can be life changing, and want to open it up to as many people as possible. Many people who start skating with us have never played a sport before because they felt excluded from mainstream sporting culture. Roller derby aims to empower people from all backgrounds, regardless of experience, and extra funding would help us do this.
Roller derby is DIY – run by members, for members; a dynamic, inclusive community, offering empowerment through sport. The People’s Project funding would help us focus on more community engagement, targeting ‘harder to reach’ groups, so more people can benefit from playing, officiating, volunteering or spectating.
We are also committed to removing financial barriers from what can be an expensive sport. Thanks to funding from Awards for All in January 2017, we provided 20 new skaters with full roller derby kits, including skates and all protective equipment.
These loaner kits allowed those who otherwise would not be able to participate due to financial barriers the opportunity to join our 14-week Skate Skills 101 (SKS 101) programme – many of whom have since passed their minimum skills test, become full members of the club, and are ready to play the sport competitively: a fantastic achievement that would have otherwise been impossible.
People’s Project funding would cover twice as many kits so that most new skaters can take part without any significant financial barrier, opening up our sport to anyone who would be unable to afford it otherwise.
SKS participants report improved physical and mental wellbeing, and a sense of belonging. More funded kits mean more people can experience these benefits.
For the last ten years we have trained at the Jack Kane Sports Centre (JKSC), a community sports centre in Niddrie, one of Edinburgh’s more deprived communities. The team at the JKSC have been amazing supportive of us as a sports club, from ten years ago when we were just a handful of women not sure what we were doing, to today, as we become a club of 120 members and three travel teams, who organise 15+ hours of training every week.
With People’s Project funding, we would hold a family friendly Community Celebration in the JKSC, opening up what we do to the local community, and thanking the JKSC team for their support over the years.
“The people I have met at ARRG have been amazing…full of support and enthusiasm.”
“Roller derby has changed my attitude towards how I should feel about my body and what it can do.”
“Roller derby has made me believe that I can do anything!”
“Roller Derby gives me a space to be Lady Scrapnell, derby skater – bold, aggressive, strong – not Natalie, Mummy, wife, manager. It’s a space where I only think about what’s happening on track and where I need to be and what’s coming next. Then I go home and enjoy all those other identities too, but I cherish my time being Scraps!”
-Natalie Barrett, aka Lady Scrapnell, aka Scraps
“Roller derby showed me it was ok to be me – I feel accepted, supported and celebrated for who I am.”
“Roller derby has given me the self belief to pursue the things I want; on the track, in my career and personal life. It’s given me the growth mindset to stop telling myself “I can’t do that” and instead make a plan and say “I can’t do that yet, but this is how I’m going to get there”.
Roller derby has given me a community that I just didn’t think I’d have when I moved to Edinburgh; I feel very lucky to be part of this group of inspirational, dedicated and unique individuals, and to know they’ve got my back when I need them, on and off the track.”
– Suzanne Aitchison aka So Solid Sue
“Roller derby, and more importantly my derby pals, have helped me through the toughest moments of my life. Without the constant support, help and space to take my mind off what was happening in “real life” I honestly don’t know where I would have been.”
“Before I started skating I was in a really bad place with depression. I had no interest in doing anything at all. Derby was the one thing that got me up and going again and helped me through it. I still have bad days sometimes and skating with my pals always makes me feel a bit better.”
You can download our press release HERE