An Interview with Betongpark

With their distinct approach to building bespoke skateparks, Betongpark have spent the last ten years repaving Europe's skateboarding landscape - literally.

By Somerset House

Hackney Bumps (2020) by Jørn TomterSomerset House

During the first Covid Lockdown two local skaters, Greg King and Nick Tombs, started to use The Bumps out of necessity, soon noticing it wasn't fit for purpose. 

With the expertise of Betongpark's Daryl Nobbs they set out to 'refurbish and resurface' the skatepark as part of a community regeneration project.

King and Tombs, with the help of a team of neighbourhood volunteers, tirelessly polished the park's 1200 square metres at a rate of 5-8 square metres a day. Today it is a welcoming and vibrant community hub radiating the inclusive and DIY spirit of skateboarding.

Hackney Bumps, Betongpark by Sam ElstubSomerset House

Daryl Nobbs and Stuart Maclure of Betongpark explain...

'So, we build skateparks, but we design spaces for communities really, that's kind of the point of it and I think that’s how we look a bit different to someone who just builds skate parks.' - Daryl Nobbs

'We’re all skaters ourselves. I have been skateboarding for longer than I can remember and we, just try to create spaces for everyone to come together.' - Daryl Nobbs (Betongpark)

Hackney Bumps, Betongpark by Sam ElstubSomerset House

'Hackney Bumps was built in ‘86 I believe. I moved into the area a couple years ago and having previously lived in London and skated in London for many years, you generally know where most skate parks and skate spots are, and for some time I didn’t even know that it existed.' - Daryl Nobbs (Betongpark)

Hackney Bumps, Betongpark by Sam ElstubSomerset House

'I remember coming across it on Instagram – a couple of guys I know wanted to redevelop the Bumps and I was like Hackney Bumps? I found out it was like 2 minutes from my house.' 

Hackney Bumps, Betongpark by Sam ElstubSomerset House

'As it slowly developed and grew as a project its given us a lot of inspiration as to how as a business to help these things happen in other places - by working with the community to refurbish existing local hubs and breath new life into them.' Daryl Nobbs (Betongpark)

Hackney Bumps, Betongpark by Sam ElstubSomerset House

Agency is so important.

'Political agency and a sense of confidence from being involved in community projects can be transformative for young people.' - Stuart Maclure (Betongpark)

Hackney Bumps, Betongpark by Sam ElstubSomerset House

"All the group needed to get things underway was a couple of chumps with f**k all to do. And a pandemic." 
- Nick Tombs

Hackney Bumps, Betongpark by Sam ElstubSomerset House

Community spirit

'If you rally your friends and your local neighbours around something and it succeeds, or with help from people like us or the local council and it succeeds, you suddenly have this moment of realisation where you’re like, oh, we can make a difference.' 

Hackney Bumps, Betongpark by Sam ElstubSomerset House

More of a spotlight?

'I think there's been more of a spotlight on skateboarding since its inclusion in the Olympics. Some people would argue that it's become a bit more sterilised, others would say that it's given more funding opportunities to skateboarding.' - Stuart Maclure (Betongpark)

'There are more skate parks being built. One of the reasons that Betong Park started in the UK was that there was a lack of quality in some of the design and finish of skate parks.' - Stuart Maclure (Betongpark)

Hackney Bumps, Betongpark by Sam ElstubSomerset House

Inclusivity

'Skateboarding has always brought in people of all ages, of all backgrounds and just naturally, skaters are great at talking to new people because that's what we've been happily doing since we were like 12 years old.'

'I think when people get involved in skateboarding, they have more of a chance of understanding other cultures and other ways of life; learning how to talk about things quite openly.'

Hackney Bumps (2021/2021) by BetongparkSomerset House

Hackney Bumps

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Google apps