Parkour – What a difference a project can make.

Posted: 24/02/2017

The Neighbourhood and Communities Team at City West have worked in partnership with Evolve, Lancashire County Cricket Club Foundation, GMP and the Forestry Commission to deliver a series of Parkour sessions at Clifton.

Parkour is an art of motion sport concerned with travelling between two points using the fastest route possible. This means traversing through obstacles using skills such as vaults, jumps and swings.

The project was developed to increase physical activity amongst young people, get them involved in sport and to divert them away from anti-social behaviour during the school holidays.

The project was piloted in the summer holidays during 2016 at Clifton Green were a two week summer camp was delivered with great success. An average of 40 young people attended per session and at least six young people who had previously perpetrated ASB attended the activity - this constituted 50hrs of diversionary activities, therefore potentially saving the public purse £500 per incident.

Due to the success of the pilot camp, funding was secured via Sportivate to fund further sessions in the October half term holidays at Swinton High School.

The success of Parkour project can be demonstrated within the following case study from City West customers, father, Jonny and his son Jack aged seven.

Healthy start for free-running family

Jonny has been a City West Housing Trust customer for the last two years, with his girlfriend and their son Jack. Jack, who has been diagnosed with ADHD, had never really been interested in any structured activity and struggled to develop friendships with children in school.

The first session of the summer camp captured Jack’s imagination and since then he has been hooked. He is now a full fledged member attending sessions six days a week.

Parkour has helped Jack channel his adventurous side in a safe and structured way. Jack’s confidence has grown which has seen him take part in showcase event at Media City and he has formed new friendships. Jack’s behaviour at home has also changed significantly. Before the sessions Jack had a broken sleeping pattern and by attending Parkour sessions this means that Jack has been able to burn off energy and now has a much more structured sleep.

Jack’s dad Jonny, currently unemployed for health reasons, has also benefited from Parkour and he is now a volunteer assistant at Evolve. Jonny has also taken steps to improve his health by taking part in Parkour sessions himself and joining a Thai boxing club – losing over a stone in weight.

Jonny said, “I’m interacting with people on a more regular basis which has helped my mental health issues and I feel much more positive. The team at Evolve has really encouraged me which has helped so much, and they’ve even put a training programme together to support my development further. It’s changed both Jack’s and my life for the better.”

Due to the success of Parkour, Claire Anderton, Community Development Officer at City West is currently working with stakeholders to source additional funding for summer 2017 in order for this initiative to become sustainable long term.