In a new collaborative vision Southbank Centre and Long Live Southbank (LLSB) today launched a £790,000 joint crowdfunding campaign to help raise funds to enable the restoration of the Queen Elizabeth Hall Undercroft for skateboarding, graffiti and other free creative activities. The scheme will also see the creation of a new space for children and young people to engage in learning and creative activities organised by Southbank Centre.

Plans now approved by Lambeth Council will see the reconfiguration of the existing Undercroft space on the Southbank to allow for the extension of the internationally renowned skate space, including improvements to lighting and a restoration of some original 1960s banks and concrete paving.

The development will also see the creation of a new learning and education space for children and young people, enabling Southbank Centre to deliver its vision for even greater provision of educational arts and culture facilities for young people. The new HQ will be the go-to place for young people looking for opportunities in the arts and creative industries - hosting vibrant new learning and participation events and programmes that will welcome hundreds of schoolchildren and local people to creative projects every day.

The fundraising campaign, launched today, will feature a host of special events and collaborations and seeks to raise money from supporters including the international skateboarding community, general public, businesses and philanthropists for the opening of the space, scheduled for early 2018. The collaboration will benefit local residents and wider communities including visitors to London as well as London’s cultural landscape as a whole.

To support the campaign and read more please visit www.llsbdonate.com

The Undercroft, adjacent to the Thames in London, is the longest continually used skateboarding spot in the world, initially used in 1973 by some of the UK’s first skateboarders. The section of the space which will be restored, last skated in 2004, is of particular historical importance to skateboarders, with its original architectural layout the scene of a number of tricks which have gone down in skateboarding history.

The Undercroft is currently used by skateboarders, BMXers, graffiti writers, street artists, filmmakers, photographers and more, as well as being a tourist destination in the heart of London. The space has worldwide fame and attracts a large number of visiting skateboarders to London from across the globe. It is also an important space for local young people.

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Louis Woodhead of Long Live Southbank said:

“This is a pioneering project, and it has been great to take our vision and develop something collaboratively with Southbank Centre. We want to create something with great positivity, both for our cities cultural heritage and the prospects of generations to come. If we all come together collectively to support this, a bright future for a space of worldwide importance can be realised.'

Chris Denton, Marketing and Communications Director of Southbank Centre, said: “This development sees an important new offering for the various communities that regard Southbank Centre as their home. We’re delighted that our recent friendly collaboration with LLSB has led to the creation of this joint proposal which will allow us to create a new dynamic, fully accessible space for educational learning and participation for children, young people and local community groups whilst maintaining and expanding access to the space that is clearly much treasured by London’s skateboarding community."

Professional Skateboarder, Chewy Cannon, of Long Live Southbank said: “Southbank is one of the most important skateboarding spots in the world, and this section has gained a legendary status. Restoring it would bring a big range of opportunities for generations to come."

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said: “The Undercroft at the Southbank Centre has become a very significant place for the local and global skateboarding community. Reclaration’ is an interesting new word which sums up what Long Live Southbank wants to achieve: reclaiming and restoring a space with the cultural vibrancy that skateboarding contributes to the South Bank . We wish them every success in their fundraising campaign."

Legendary skateboarders Tony Hawk and Mark ‘Gonz’ Gonzales added their support to the campaign:

Tony Hawk said: “Southbank is an iconic skate area, and can be beneficial in the development of skateboarding worldwide. I support this restoration so that future generations have access to a globally important creative space in the heart of London".

Mark ‘Gonz’ Gonzales, referenced London slang by adding: “Southbank: It’s a safe place!".

Skater of the Year 2016, Kyle Walker, said: “Everybody needs to come together and make it happen, we’re a family, we skateboard, everybody come together!"."