But before we continue we also just want to take a moment to thank you for your continued supports. After we are nothing without you. We've certainly enjoyed spending some time with you over the last 12 months and sincerely hope to create more opportunities to hang out, catch up and celebrate in 2016.
So strap in and hold on tight it’s gonna be a fun ride.
So where to begin?
2015 has definitely been the coming together of everything that makes Sheffield Steel Rollergirls, as well as the sport of Roller Derby truly great. Over the last 12 months we’ve definitely grown as a league, both in terms of membership and in maturity. At seven years old we appreciate that we are still very much in our infancy, however as we look a back over the last 365 days we are also able to marvel at the great many things to celebrate and be proud, not least;
- Securing new sponsorship and external funding
- Increasing our community engagement
- Creating a fantastic league environment with greater integration between Min Skills and Post Min Skaters as well as developing more opportunities for anyone coming to SSRG to contribute and for those contributions to be acknowledged and valued
- Firmly pinning our colours and allegiance to the mast of inclusion ( see Skate not hate),
- We even made an appearance in Our Sheffield, a short promotional video extolling the wonders of our great city of Sheffield
So as you can see there is a great deal to make a song and dance about!
2015 was Sheffield Steel Rollergirl's first year competing in the British Champs. The competition saw our A Team fight it out in the Tier 3 Regional North division against the Bruising Banditas. Dundee Roller Girls, Granite City Roller Girls, Halifax Furness Firecrackers and Liverpool Roller Birds.
In a Championship race that saw the team travel to Scotland not once but twice in as many months, host a Double and a Triple header in less than 6 weeks there is much to be proud.
And to top off our first British Champs campaign our A Team ended the season in a comfortable mid table position.
Still on the subject of Bouting teams, 2015 also saw new captaincy for the Crucibelles in the form of Claire D Area and Victor E Dance. In assuming the reigns the Belles duo set about not only hosting a number of strategy evenings for the Belles, got a lot of gameplay with other teams in the form of closed bouts and scrims, but also took them to competed in two away games; first playing MRD: Furies at the end of May, in a bout that ended 113 vs 183 to MRD, and then finishing their year victoriously on November 21s, having beaten Liverpool Roller Birds Shovemarines (Shoves 87, SSRG 209), in top billing game of a double header, which saw our own Le Threat also play in a winning game as member of the Vagine Regime UK.
If for some reason you haven't seen the photos from our day in Liverpool (have you been living under a stone?) please click here for Xena Morphs' (our new team photographer and logo designer extraordinaire) pick of the pics.
April is traditionally election time at SSRG and this year was no exception, in fact we got a totally get a new committee. Led by the inimitable Luna as Chair, Claire D Area as Bouts Lead, Jess and Rogue as Engagement Leads, Tom and Taylor, who were later joined by Demon as Training Leads and Bob as Officiating; the committee barely had enough time to settle into their respective roles before the entire league, deftly lead by the Bout Team, was put on action stations bout planning mode for the Double Header home Game at Ponds Forge and later the Triple Header in August at Concord.
Indeed much of the summer months were spent planning for two home games, mobilising the officiating team to travel to other bouts and making travel arrangements for the team to travel to away games.
That said when the committee were first voted in they did have time to set about developing some short and medium term goals. The committee continue to work with our members to shape the direction of travel for the next few years beyond their term.
Collectively the league is formulating it new strategic direction and mission to work toward, to ensure that the goals and strategies of future committees are unified and are working towards the same league mission and strategy.
In early May many of our girls took park in the Colour Dash to raise money for Bluebell Wood.
May was also the month of bumper post-min passes and the month we got to skate with Sandrine Rangeon, the first of our three guest coaches for 2015.
Sandrine who totally kicked ass into shape by teacing us all about derby stance, maximising skating strides and crossovers.
In June we hosted the first of our two home games. Here special thanks need to go to Machine Gunby, Claire D' Area, Dolly, Carnage and everyone else who pitched in to help in both the preparation and on the day management of both the Champs Double and the Triple header.
In July some of our girls were immortalised as part of the this #ThisGirlCan campaign. If you we in the Doncaster Frenchgate centre or meadowhall Sunday July 12 then you would have seen our lovely Cherry on display.
Luna, Claire D Area, Heidi and Pippa Armi also took to the skies at Sheffield International Venues newest venue, Altitude High Ropes Adventure at iceSheffield as part of the this Girl Can Sheffield Altitude Workplace Challenge. The team went head head with a number of other female teams for a chance to win a Team Building Session for the league. Although we were marginally pipped into 4th place on the day, our girls certainly had a lot of fun.
In August we turned seven years old and what better birthday present than to receive the great news that we’d been successful in our Sport England's Sportivate funding. Thanks to the funding, we were able to offer a pick n mix menu of initiatives to eligible skaters aged 18-25 years on our October. The Sportivate funding also applies to February 14th Intake. There's never been a better time to try roller. Even if you're outside the 18 to 25 age bracket, we have a variety of ways to help lessen the barriers associated with joining so please get in touch with our Recruitment Team for more information.
The Sportivate funding has allowed us to offer an Assisted and subsidised Skater Scheme, which although primarily aimed at inactive women, has help decrease the financial barrier for people who'd like to try roller derby but are put off by the relatively high start up costs associated with buying the skates and safety equipment..
Notable mentions must go to Blood Lorraine, (currently taking a break from Skating during her maternity leave) who was instrumental in not only identifying, preparing but also submitting the information for the application. Props also go to Miss D and Tom for attending the funding briefing, to Tom, Luna and Miss D for preparing key documentation and Tom for sourcing the equipment.
September was also the month we a said a sad goodbye to Berry'D Alive, Bry Hard and Regina, who returned to America. We miss still you guys.
The second week of September signalled another weekend Division 1 play offs! And because we not only love playing derby but also love watching it, we invited members to join us and have some fun streaming the live game, which for us the main draw of the double bill was London Roller Girls bout.
And so it was on that calm night in September that a bunch of roller girls descended on a secret location for a little member screening for WFTDA Champs, and we settled in for some serious Champs bout viewing.....
Naturally mirth, merriment and low level mayhem was the order of the evening courtesy of the ever entertaining Luna who was the evening host, screening compère and intermission quiz master, ensuring that fun was had by all.
October was another busy time for us. It was the month that we experienced our most successful New intake with staggering a 54 self identifying women enrolled to attend the October 4th Intake, with a whooping 32 in attendance on the day.
October was also the month we introduced a new look Min(ium) Skills programme format, based on 16 rather than 12 weeks. The new longer format puts much greater emphasis on rules and derby game play as well as pack work ensuring that new graduated skaters are more prepared for that step up from min skills training to post min practice and full contact.
In October we also saw the introduction of both Non Skating Official (NSO) and Ref school. Aimed at both increasing our capacity to not only host, but officiate our on home games, this is but another way we have increased the value, knowledge of the game, better understanding of rules, not to mention opportunities to contribute for our members and skaters. Please get in touch if you're interested in other officiating opportunities.
Coming almost of the month we welcomed long standing volunteer Emma Boulton to the helm of Head NSO role.
Please check our events pages for the dates of the next school sessions
November was a month of light and dark. On the light side both our A Team and Belles got some seriously scrim action with other teams under their belts.
Early in the month we took to Facebook to speak out against the alleged discrimination and inequality two of our skaters had experience in their private lives because of their gender identity . As long supporters of inclusion this story clearly also resonated with you because our post was so popular that it literally broke our Facebook page leading us to reposted here on our blog (see Skate not hate).
In an unrelated but happy coincidence a day later World Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) announcement to the world that they had updated their policy regarding gender participation. So good news all round.
Inclusion 2 v Bigotry and Discrimination 1
November also seemed to be time for departures. Indeed after much soul searching, Miss D announced her decision to step down from her captaincy of the A Team. However sad as this new was, true to the SSRG grit and heart (it's made of steel don't you know!) , resilience and belief in embracing change, rather than lamenting the loss we were about to experience, instead we used this as an opportunity to celebrate all the triumphs over the years. So please join the entire league in celebration of all the hard work, love, joy and commitment that Miss D has brought to the role.
In November we also bid a fond farewell to a one time dual head coach and more recently Line Up Manager in Nuke. Please be sure to wish him luck in his training and bouts Team Scotland. Glynis and carnage also be decided to retiring from training for a few months.
Along with saying goodbye to long standing skaters & contributors, and welcoming some new faces, we've also welcomed back into the fold some "old face" in the form of Siege, Miss C and most recently Tash!
In December SSRG went to the movies, as we teamed up with the Showroom for a screening of the critically acclaimed documentary In the Turn .
But wait there was more…. following the screening we hosted a panel Q&A about Roller Derby and women in sports.
The Showroom invited us to talk derby in panel chaired by our very own Rarr, with Bob, Kraken and Xena Morph participating as panelist as part of their The Time is Now season of films chronicling women forcing change around the world and throughout the history of film. The screening of “In the Turn” punctuated the season which launched with the release of the brilliant Suffragette.
The success of this event means we will certainly work to find more change to collaborate as we widen our reach into the community.
December was also party time for SSRG with our Christmas drinks and awards
SSRG Award winners - Huah
One to watch - Kraken
For being wicked smart on track - Sin
A team captain - Miss D
Referee award - Mick Myers
Most epic Bruises- Baddie
No tardies- Cassie Fletcher
Good vibes - Betty
Belles caps choice - Mean
A team caps choice - Pepper
Joker in the pack- Corinne
Heart of steel- Tom
Gnarliest injury - Naz
Creative genius Claire Brand
Head NSO - Emma Boulton
Rookie of the year - Emily Barr
Belles captain - Dance
Belles captain - Claire
Most stylish - Cyndi
NSO award - Bunny
Head Ref's Award - Bob
Unsung hero - Heidi
Structure, most improved - Mel
Structure, strong woman - Luna
Super awesome badass award - Demon
SSRG Superwoman - Rogue
Remaining on the subject of sponsors, in 2015 we also welcomed the following new sponsors to the fold who join everybody's perennial favourite Derby Store; Structure, Good Vibrations, Birdhouse Teas, Gypsy Rose and the Street Food Chef. Here we have seven practical examples of ways that small businesses are helping grassroots sports teams. Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org to start a conversation on how we can work with your organisation.
2016 Here we come!
..... indeed to flip the famous immortal Star Wars line on it's head.....
"We have a GOOD feeling about this!"
More spectator opportunities
We kick off our new session and the new journey with an Charity Intraleague Bout to raise money for the Refugee Support Network on January 16th. That's right we're bringing back the big cat fight!
It's not too late to head over to Junior Roller Facebook account or SheffJrRollers Twitter for your chance to win tickets.
Remember to tell us where your allegiance lays. Be sure to head over to our Facebook page for 1pm on New Years Eve to learn just how we intend to settle this social media #SSRG2016CatFight.
Following the excitement of the build up along with the growing anticipation over the impeding resurrection of Death Leopards and Steel Panthers after a two year hiatus, as a league we are definitely eager to do more for our fans and supporters. Indeed we hope the charity intraleague bout will become a perennial favourite in your derby calendar.
With a creative mix of intraleagues, A Team and Belles home games, along side exhibition bouts and other multi-team competitive formats; we aim to create a banquet of SSRG spectating opportunities. Interspersed with Cherry Poppers, tailored Pre & Post Boot Camps and Mini Boot Camps planned for the summer months, we want to create more chances to see and get to know both our seasoned as well as newly graduated players from within our own league in action on home soil (oops I mean track, we can't skate on soil, we've tried and its not fun :/ ).
Indeed there is much to look forward to in the new year not least the much anticipated launch of the Sheffield Steel Junior Rollers (our junior league and YES it's really happening) in January 2016.
To celebrate the launch we are offering 3 x free taster sessions. If you haven’t done so already please visit Sheffield Steel Junior Rollers to register your pre-teen or teenager on the free taster happening at Springs Leisure Centre on January 17th, 24th or 31st.
As a co-ed league Sheffield Steel Junior Rollers (SSJR) champions getting more youngsters taking part in sports, and we certainly don't want to exclude you boys from that game plan. At SSJR we believe no one is born playing roller derby (but you're welcome to prove us wrong), and whilst some people are naturally talented at sporting activities, for the rest of us athleticism is something that is developed, nurtured and supported.
As keen supporters of #ThisGirlCan, #TransGirlCan, #LikeAGirl campaigns SSRG are both body champions and gender advocates and have made it the mission for the Junior League to widen the opportunities for children and young people to be involved in sporting activity, redefining what it means to be an athlete and making it more inclusive to all genders, all ages and all abilities and body types. (See https://sheffieldsteeljuniorrollers.teamapp.com / documents sections)
At Sheffield Steel Junior Rollers our objective is to:
- Provide an alternative to traditional sporting options available to children and young people
- Break down the barriers which prevents participation in and engagement with sports
- Challenge the perceptions on what an athlete is, can be or looks like
- Champion sports participation for all genders for the younger ages
To this end our Primary mission is
"To provide an inclusive, accessible, fun, safe, value for money, body image championing environment for roller derby coaching to young people of all genders, ages, and abilities which embraces the value of sporting endeavour and sporting behaviour, full participation and celebrates the contributions of all its members"
"To develop a fully fledge roller derby team capable of competitive participant at the junior level."
If the ethos, mission and objective of Sheffield Steel Junior Rollers is something that resonates with you please get in touch with the Junior Planning Team as there are many ways you can get involved.
As mentioned earlier we will be hosting meets & greets for both our Junior and Senior leagues throughout January and February so be sure to get in touch with our Senior or Junior recruitment team
Similarly, because no one really likes waiting and in an effort to help make the wait a little more bearable we've teamed up with Regather to bring you a series of special roller screenings. So just what exactly are you doing on January 21st? If you're free why not consider making it a date and head on down to Regather Works to join us for our January Screening.......
And theres more good news..... we've also teamed up with The Real Junk Food Project: Sheffield to bring you pay as you feel pizza. So what are you waiting for? Head over to the Whip It Facebook page for this event to pick up your tickets. Remember to leave your comments and suggestions of other roller derby or derby inspired films and /or documentaries, female empowerments films or sporting screenings you'd like us to put on.
Dream Team Captaincy
The sad resignation of Miss D lead to an new round of election......
Drumroll please .......... say hello to our new A Team Co-Captains Uma Thumpin and Cherry Thunder who will lead our teams as we commence the British Championship. Having both been skating for 4 years (Uma with London Rockin Rollers and Cherry with SSRG) they are both excited and eager to build on the solid foundations Miss D had built over the last few years
With a 33rd UKRDA ranking and 539.1 points the 2016 British Champions race will see Sheffield Steel Rollergirls competing in the Tier Regional 3 West (yes you read correctly we did say WEST). A new region brings new opponents of North Wales (522.5), Oxford 570.2, Swansea 621.1, Wirral 648.1 and Wolves 555.9. Whilst we are aware that the road is not going to be an easy one, we are supremely confident that Cherry and Uma will guide our team in the right direction.
2016 A Team Bouts
- Feb 13/14 (At Wolves, versus Wolves)
- Mar 12/13 (At Swansea, versus Swansea)
- May 14/15 (Hosting, versus Oxford)
- Jun 4/5 (At Wirral, versus North Wales)
- Jul 23/24 (Triple TBC, versus Wirral - POSSIBLY AUG 6/7)
- Sep 3/4 (Playoffs)
Keep an eye out for save the day announcements on this events page and our Facebook for notification of definitive dates.
Website and Online Stores
In 2016 we will be migrating our website to a new platform. The new content management system gives us greater functionality, increased flexibility and provides better integration with our other social platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Twitter).
At the same time we'll also be taking our SSRG merchandise online when we launch our all new online store over the next few months, complete with some all new special edition Tees (Shhhhh Spoilers!!). Keep an eye out on Now then App for cool discounts to coincide with the launch.
Volunteers & Getting involved
Want to get involved but skating just isn't your thing? Don’t worry, as a result of the popularity and all embracing nature of the community that is roller derby and Sheffield Steel Rollergirls in particular, means that great many people who come to us and wanting to involved with our league who have no interest in skating for the team.
Indeed as a member funded volunteer-led amateur roller derby league we are always on the lookout and actively welcome volunteers. Also volunteering is a great way to bridge the time spent between jobs, can allow you to add new skills in life or to your CV and is also a fantastic way to make new friends. Better still is the fact that it can also be fit around your existing academic, professional and or social commitments..
Whether you're creatively minded, great with numbers or just like to roll up your sleeves and pitch in there's definitely something of interest to any willing volunteer at Sheffield Steel Rollergirls.
From blogging to vlogging, video making, poster design to getting into the community and spreading the word, volunteering is a great way to not only vastly increase your social circle, but also increase your skills base, build your confidence and develop your cognitive or problem solving skills.
In celebration of the fact that volunteering is so great, even BBC’s Radio 1 and 1Xtra gotten in on the act. In an ambitious year long volunteering campaign: #1MillionHours, the presenters are encouraging their listeners to get involved in their community.
Now we are appreciate there are plenty of worthy causes out there but would be honoured if you choose Sheffield Steel Rollergirls to spend a few of those hours. So if you’re looking for a volunteering opportunity with a difference why not join the many other listeners who have already made the pledge to dedicate 1 million hours of their time towards volunteering for a good cause.
The #1millionhours campaign makes for a very exciting year for volunteering.
Please contact our Volunteer co-ordinators if you are interested in volunteering, have an interest in roller derby or just want to get become part of awesome inclusive community. You can also visit or special Friends of Sheffield Steel Rollergirls to find out about other ways to get involved.
Being part of our local community
Affectionately dubbed as the planets biggest village as a result of its greenery and the friendliness of its locals, one of the best things about Sheffield is the fact that THIS IS a city that cares. The success of initiatives like CADS, Common Threads, Creative Action Network, Long Well Walks, Opus Independences, Point Blank, Parties for the People, Regather, ReNew and Youth Discover Ventures as well as the goodwill necessary to make of Sheffield base syndicated projects such as Sheffield Junk Food Project, Sheffield Soup, Sheffield Pecka Kucha, Girls Gang Sheffield and Sheffield Sofar Sounds a reality are testimony to the awesomeness of our fair city.
Heavily steeped in history and tradition, Sheffield has an increasingly influential creativity community, a strong and more importantly trademark protected brand in Made in Sheffield, not to mention it's illustrious musical legacy.
Yes Sheffield Steel Rollergirls are both proud and honoured to be part of that rich heritage and are uncompromisingly committed to contributing to that amazing tapestry of people and things. So yes widening our community engagement is definitely a major focus for 2016 and we'd love it if you joined us in that mission. Please get in touch with either our Events Team or Engagement Team to talk about ways we can collaborate.
So what do you think, fancy being part our 2016?
Remember joining our mailing list below, liking our Facebook page, following us on Twitter and Instagram and joining our Friends of Sheffield Steel Rollergirls are just a few of the ways you can keep in touch and continue the conversation.
Hugs and Shoves xxxx
Sheffield Steel Rollergirls