World-famous Southbank skate space awarded £200,000 grant

The London Marathon Charitable Trust has awarded a £200,000 grant to the Southbank Undercroft Transformation Project to help protect and expand the Skate Space on the Southbank in London, often cited as the birthplace of British skateboarding.

This project, a collaboration between the Southbank Centre and Long Live Southbank, will restore iconic parts of the Undercroft and open up more than 400m2 of new space as well as widen the offer of free skate schools to people of all backgrounds and abilities to enjoy skateboarding, BMXing, roller sports, dance, street art and free running in central London.

Sarah Ridley, Chief Grants Officer for The London Marathon Charitable Trust said: “The Southbank Undercroft is a London institution and has provided generations of local people and visitors with a free and accessible space to be active. One of the aims of this regeneration project is to support more young people to become more physically active, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds. This is synonymous with The Trust’s overall vision to inspire activity. We are so pleased to award this grant and we look forward to seeing London’s local community and visitors to the Southbank benefiting for many more generations to come.”

Southbank Centre and Long Live Southbank are successfully working in partnership with the GLA, Sport England and The London Marathon Charitable Trust to ensure the Undercroft remains open and will go even further to serve the community in the future.

Stuart Maclure of Long Live Southbank said: “We are delighted to learn that The London Marathon Charitable Trust has awarded the Southbank Undercroft Restoration Project a grant of £200,000 to help create more space for skateboarding, BMX and dance on London’s Southbank. The grant is a huge boost to our fundraising efforts to restore much loved parts of one of London's most important cultural sites. The London Marathon Charitable Trust's support will go a long way to help energise not only the immediate area but the people who use it. The Southbank community will greatly benefit from this ground-breaking project and so will future generations of people who use the Southbank Undercroft for daily activities and exercise.”

Phase One of the project aims to raise more than £1 million to refurbish the existing space and open up the new space, with work beginning in 2019. 

Elaine Bedell, Southbank Centre’s Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to have secured this generous grant from The London Marathon Charitable Trust. The development of this space will give skaters and BMXers access to newly opened up and restored sections of the Undercroft. With the help of The Trust we are moving ever closer to our fundraising target and the point at which we can start work.”

Originally founded by street skaters in 1973 following the construction of Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Undercroft is legendary among the skating community and remains the world’s longest continually skated street spot. 

The Southbank Undercroft Transformation Project grant is just one of eighteen new grants that was awarded by The London Marathon Charitable Trust to projects primarily across London and Surrey in August 2018, which totalled more than £2.2 million.