This year was the third annual Tappy Jam at Farnborough Skate Park, organised by Charlie Norton, Enterprise Business Representative at NewVoiceMedia. Charlie founded the event to honour the memory of his friend Matt Tapp, a fellow skateboarder who sadly passed away in 2013. The skateboarding and BMX jam is also a big fundraiser for CALM, (the Campaign Against Living Miserably), a charity which exists to prevent male suicide in the UK by providing support to men who are down or in crisis. In 2014, male suicide accounted for 76% of all suicides and was the biggest cause of death in men under 45 in the UK.
We're extremely proud of Charlie and the hours of personal time and energy he committed to making Tappy Jam a success. Charlie raised an amazing £2,065.40 with the support of NewVoiceMedia Foundation’s matched funding scheme. This is enough money to run the CALM hotline for two days, allowing around 400 calls to be answered throughout the night.
I caught up with Charlie to find out more:
What does Tappy Jam mean to you?
For me, Tappy Jam is a massive celebration of Matt’s life and also brings the skate/BMX community together. I’ve been BMXing since the age of 14 and it’s a big part of my life. Tappy Jam is a positive representation of the skating/BMX community which is otherwise sometimes clouded in stigma. We’re more than just skaters, we are a support network and a family.
What’s involved in organising an event like this?
I’ve organised Tappy Jam for the past three years now but it always catches me off guard how much work is required to put together just one day. I’ve spent time organising licenses to be able to collect donations, liaised with CALM, spoken to companies for prizes and giveaways, and sourced equipment like PA systems and gazebos. This year, I was also able to add new details like a personalised logo and t-shirts. It’s great to see the event getting bigger and better each year. We’re now at the stage where Tappy Jam is a big annual event and not just skating on a random Saturday. With this new scale, I’ll have to start organising the next jam as early as January!
We’ve had lots of successes and wins but I’d say my biggest challenge is the investment of time needed to obtain sponsorship. I look for sponsorship from skating and BMX companies who kindly donate skating and BMX apparel. This year I’ve been able to use paid working time via the NewVoiceMedia Foundation which has made the project much easier to manage when collecting sponsorship and donations. It’s a great bonus to working here at NewVoiceMedia as it allows me to fulfil something I’m passionate about. I’d encourage others at NewVoiceMedia to get involved with causes personal to them.
What was your personal highlight at this year’s event?
This year I introduced a minute’s silence to remember Matt. It’s not something we’ve done before and I wasn’t expecting the affect it would have on the entire event. After the high volume of noise of all the skateboards, BMXs and music, the whole skate park fell completely still. Nothing could be heard, no skateboard wheel was turning, just total silence. Once that minute was up an almighty sound of people clapping and cheering was heard in respect of our friend Matt Tapp.
Charlie’s big plans for next year’s Tappy Jam is to be bigger and better than ever. You can keep up-to-date with Charlie and Tappy Jam here.
Check out some live action from Tappy Jam 2016 here.
Photos courtesy of Matt Thomas Photography
Video produced by Wilsondoesfilms