Girls carve up Hobart skate park for worthy cause

TEN-year-old Anneka Lewis has often been on the receiving end of name calling and bullying.

But rather than let it get her down, this youngster has decided to stand up and do something about this behavior, which can often lead to other forms of violence and abuse.

Anneka recently took part in ‘Skate for Eight’ – an eight-hour skateboarding event that spreads awareness of domestic violence and raises funds for White Ribbon, a campaign to prevent men’s violence against women.

Alongside her crew of female skateboarders, Anneka spent White Ribbon Day (25 November) “carving up” the concrete at the Elizabeth Street Skate Park.

The avid skater is a member of She Shreds, a not-for-profit organisation formed in 2014 that encourages girls to get physically active and increase their participation in typically male-dominated sports.

Liberal Member for Denison Elise Archer, who has been a strong supporter of She Shreds, dropped in to watch Anneka and her friends in action.

She also took the opportunity to grant the organisation $5000 through the Premier’s Discretionary Fund.

“She Shreds is a wonderful organisation which empowers young girls to be confident and self aware, so I was very pleased to assist them with funding for the purchase of portable skateboarding ramps and equipment,” she said.

“This new funding comes in addition to $3,300 provided through the Community Support Levy – Sport and Recreation Minor Grants Program, which recently went towards the purchase of skateboards and protective gear.”

She Shreds founder Jared Andrew said he was “rapt” with the new funding.

“This will make a massive difference to our group that now has between 75 and 120 regular female skateboarders who get involved in sessions on a regular basis,” he said.

“We run skateboarding sessions for girls after school and at weekends in the greater Hobart region, but we just couldn’t continue to do it without the ongoing support from people like Elise Archer.”

As well as an opportunity for friendly, non-competitive socialising at skate parks, She Shreds also provides skateboarding lessons for beginners through to advanced skaters, as well as conducts skateboarding competitions.

“What She Shreds does is helps the girls with their self-esteem and confidence,” Mr Andrew said.

“Hopefully by the time they are adults, they’re going to be very self-assured members of our community.”

Caption: She Shreds founder Jared Andrew with 10-year-old skater Anneka Lewis and Liberal Member for Denison Elise Archer.