Auld Reekie Roller Derby given new home after Edinburgh Leisure left them homeless

The sudden loss of two key halls at Broughton and Holyrood high had meant that one Europe’s premier roller derby sides were battling for their survival.

Wednesday, 4th September 2019, 2:24 pm
Auld Reekie Roller Derby have secured a regular training venue after a period of uncertainty. Picture: Roller Derby on film

However, Leith community centre will be welcoming the sports club from September this year. This has come just in time for the club’s All Star team to prepare for the upcoming Continental Cup, an international tournament being held in Helsinki, Finland in October.Edinburgh Leisure informed the team in July that they could no longer train at Broughton and Holyrood High schools, despite having been regular and loyal customers for years.The club has eight separate training sessions every week, all of which need hall space. Auld Reekie All Star’s Captain Lianne Parry said: “We are absolutely delighted to be entering into a new relationship with Leith Community Centre, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, when cuts to sports funding and shortage of sports hall provision has caused some real problems for us.Despite these issues, our All Stars have kept their focus and continued to work hard and we’re so proud to have qualified for the Continental Cup - it’s a real testament to the team’s depth and drive. It would be lovely to feel like our own city supported us in our achievements.”The eviction from both halls has come on the back of the loss of Meadowbank Sports Centre, which was not just a training venue but also where Auld Reekie had hosted all their home games for almost ten years.Despite promises from Edinburgh Leisure to help the club find alternative training and game venues during Meadowbank’s rebuild, nothing seemed to materialise. The club states that the survival and running of the team is thanks to the hard work of the club’s own volunteers. They have been able to go on hosting games, at Dalkeith Community Campus, but unfortunately the change of venue has meant a drop in audience and subsequently a drop in income.Auld Reekie Roller Derby have been going for eleven years and have over 120 members and three travel teams. The All Stars are number one in Scotland and ranked 15th in Europe whilst ranking 43rd overall globally. Auld Reekie Roller Derby have said that they have struggled to find regular hall space and to be accepted and respected as a sport that makes a huge difference to people’s lives.However they do note that the Jack Kane centre has been supportive since the clubs inception. Edinburgh Leisure have said that the main issue that has arisen has been the use of tape that damages school hall floors. An Edinburgh Leisure spokesperson said: “We’ve had a long and positive relationship over the last decade with Auld Reekie Roller Derby who used Meadowbank Sports Centre as their training ground as well as hosting their home games for over almost a decade.“We dispute that Edinburgh Leisure has failed to work with Auld Reekie to find alternative training venues and have been working with the club to assist but sadly their requirement to use tape on their Saturday training sessions, which would mark the flooring, has meant that it was not feasible to offer them this session. However. they are still using Holyrood High for training on Wednesdays as tape is not required then and they also use Jack Kane Sports Centre, an Edinburgh Leisure venue. “We are sorry to see this let go but we wish them all the best at Leith Community Centre and with their forthcoming season.”

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