Future a lottery for roller derby

By Michael Roberts | posted on June 26, 2020

LAST week was a bittersweet return to skating for Albany Roller Derby League (ARDL) President Natalie Jarvis, with her organisation still fighting to stay afloat because of COVID-19.

Despite getting back to training for the first time in months, ARDL’s future is in doubt as the bills mount and funding applications remain up in the air.

Jarvis said some kind community gestures were the only reason skaters had been able to get back to practice at their home venue, The Track.

The venue’s landlord offered to suspend rent until the end of September, while WA Greens MP Diane Evers paid for ARDL’s building insurance.

Beyond September, Jarvis said there were still a lot of unknowns, with the grass-roots sporting club waiting to hear back on an application for a Lotterywest grant.

Even if ARDL is successful, Jarvis said there would still be a lot of work to do to stop the doors shutting on their spiritual home.

“We just have until the end of September with this, so partly excitement, part apprehension before we hear back from Lotterywest about whether our grant application is successful or not,” she said.

“We have been successful in the past two years doing this, so we are more than capable when we don’t have a global pandemic happening.”

ARDL will host a couple of fundraising events over the next month, with a skate day this Sunday and a school holiday roller disco on July 29.

“We’d love to see the community show their support and come have a skate,” Jarvis said.

“The Cheap Skate Sunday is a $5 skate hire. It’s designed to be an event that is really accessible to the community and not too expensive for people to participate in.”

Usually ARDL takes on new members once a year, but that’s all changed in 2020 because of COVID-19.

“We are going to put it out there that people can come along in term three and start skating with us anytime rather than waiting for next year,” Jarvis said.

If you were the type of person who usually didn’t feel comfortable around sporting clubs, Jarvis said ARDL offered something different to the mainstream organisations.

“We are making sure it’s not just a sporting club, that we are connected to lots of things happening in the community,” she said.

“If you’ve never felt safe or welcome at a sport before because of your gender or sexuality, then Albany Roller Derby is inclusive and diverse.”

Jarvis said the club would also restart its internationally-acclaimed Skate Like A Girl program during the next school term.

“Skate Like A Girl has been a particularly successful program because it has filled a space that teenage girls didn’t have,” she said.

“If they didn’t fit a traditional sport this was something they could do.

“We’ve always filled out to capacity every term. Missing two terms this year has been quite rough.

“We are excited to see the group again and get some new people down.”