The youth committee at Pavillion Youth Café were looking for alternative activities to football. Barlanark Community Centre was suggested as a venue with access to a large gym hall. Following discussions with young people from both organisations parkour was identified as an activity to increase participation. Parkour incorporates martial arts and focuses on movement and the environment.
Active Champion William sits on the Youth Management Committee at Pavillion Youth Café encouraging young people to get involved in physical activity. William was involved in the planning of the parkour sessions which took place on a Thursday evening 6:30-8 and finalised with a showcase.
The sessions were a big hit with the young people and the coaches interacted really well. The participants were split into 2 age groups which not only helped to get the most out of the session but mixed the young people from different areas, breaking down barriers.
When the pilot was shared at an Active East partner meeting Playbusters discussed a similar activity, Tricking, which young people were taking part in through Youth Bank funding. An opportunity arose to get more young people involved in the parkour and to allow those already taking part to try Tricking, which incorporates gymnastics, break dancing and similar disciplines giving more ‘trick’ movements which could be used in the showcase.
The participants not only got active but they learned self-control and increased their confidence. Parkour requires discipline and a form of self-meditation to overcome obstacles and adapt one’s movements to the environment. A number of young people who normally struggle to engage in activities and stick to programmes long-term were able to complete the pilot and take on a full role within the showcase. Parents were very pleased and surprised by this and even commented on a positive change in behaviour at home.
Active Champion William enjoyed seeing the different types of styles and manoeuvresassociated with Parkour. He said “it got kids off the street and doing something beneficial and inventive”. William will be able to complete a silver youth achievement challenge through his involvement in the programme. William’s younger brother got really involved in the project. The coaches were so impressed as he demonstrated commitment and aptitude for the activity that they offered him an apprenticeship with Glasgow Parkour LTD.
Moving forward funding from Big Lottery Awards for All was secured to continue with the activity until next year. Parkour is now running every Friday evening 6:30-8 at Barlanark Community Centre and the long term goal is to create a club.