Going to the roller skating rink was an essential part of many children’s and teenagers weekends. And Darren Petch recognized that his city no longer offered a long favored meeting place. Petch explained that in his city of Hull, there were two skating rinks that had closed in the late 1980s. Petch started to notice that friends and family were reminiscing about the good old days of cruising around the rink, and saw a need that just had to be met. Petch then set out to bring those memories back to life.
This has been an effort of trial and error. Petch has had to rely on volunteers and other skating enthusiasts, and has to pay all costs out of his own pocket. The first event was a loss monetarily, but the crowd just keeps coming back for more and with each roller disco, Petch perfects the planning process a little more. “The costs are high for the venue and hiring of a specialist skate hire company and the first event lost money and cost me the organiser but I could see potential and very positive feedback so tried again with the Halloween themed second event which did cover the running costs and made a very small profit,” Petch said.
He is hoping that with each event they host, more and more people will come to enjoy and will them closer to making it a permanent fixture in Hull again. “The idea is if we can make more of a profit we can buy our own skates and reduce the high running costs. The ideal being that we have a regular event which caters for all age groups from small children/families to those who want to have an alternative night out. We have two sessions for different age groups,” Petch said.
Each event offers two sessions, “the earlier session is for any age group but mainly geared towards families and younger children. The later session which has a licensed bar open is for over-16s only. Of the two events so far the best attended has been the later session but there has been very positive feedback from all age groups.”
Petch’s efforts have been covered by the local newspaper and radio station. He is currently trying to spark interest from a sponsor so that the high costs of the PA hire would be covered. You can’t have a roller disco without the groovy tunes. Petch said, “I have been thanked by many of the 80s skaters for bringing it back to the city with some saying it has made a positive impact on their lives which is nice to hear and encouraging.”
More information about the roller disco movement in Hull and to see pictures from previous events, visit their Facebook page.