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Skateboard England reaches for Olympic gold from Sheffield base, as new hire appointed

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Neil Ellis

Sheffield is to get another huge tick in maintaining its stance as the city of sport, as the skateboarding national governing body appoints local marketing professional and skateboarder, Neil Ellis to a new role in the city.

Skateboard England, the national governing body for skateboarding, has appointed Neil Ellis as the Head of Digital Engagement.

Neil joins from the Kings Foundation, a national charity, where he spent almost 4 years leading on their marketing activity from their Sheffield offices. Prior to this he led the Marketing Team at Ponds Forge, where he was responsible for coordinating media activity for the numerous Olympic Teams using the venue on the lead up to London 2012 Games and building an active legacy in the city.

Neil’s role at Skateboard England will involve driving participation in the sport through digital channels and actively engaging with various user groups throughout the UK.

Skateboarding is a growing sport, with in excess of 534,000 active participants in England and across the UK as a whole approximately 750,000. It is a sport with a strong and growing record in attracting new people into physical activity and, in particular, working effectively with young people and under-represented groups.

The sport is very accessible and gives a fantastic opportunity to engage with hard to reach young people who are “turned off” by traditional sport. It provides a lively, vibrant and diverse scene dominated by a youth population who are digitally engaged. The majority of skateboarders are aged between 11 and 24 with approximately 85% male participation. That said, skateboarding is providing an increasing number of girls with a channel to engage with sports and activity and has seen a 24% increase in the last year.

Skateboard England provide support to individual skaters, skateboarding clubs and skate schools and to make skateboarding accessible for all. One of the key responsibilities will be to support and improve performance to enable skaters to remain internationally competitive, with the aim of having home bred skaters compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Commenting on his appointment, Neil said “I am hugely excited to take on this new role. Skateboarding has been a massive part of my life and so it’s a privilege to help drive the sport forward as we approach the 2020 Olympics, where skateboarding will feature at the games for the first time”.

James Hope-Gill, Chief Executive of Skateboard England said “We are delighted to have appointed Neil into this role as we look to use digital technology to engage with the growing skateboarding community. It’s a really exciting time for the sport with it being included in both the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games and Neil’s appointment is a key part of our strategy moving forward.”