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Parkour UK

Development Associates: Storytelling lifestyle sport in 80 days

We are pleased to be launching the second round of our development associates programme this week, which will run during May, June, July and August. The initiative that we started last year has two primary aims, firstly to give Parkour UK some additional capacity to make headway in our Moving with Purpose strategy. Secondly (and most importantly) to help lift people up, give some hungry, motivated and ambitious people the opportunity to make a difference and complement their CV with an experience of lifestyle sport.

This next batch of projects will propel us forward in the areas of insight, space / place, diversity & inclusion and storytelling. The people with contribute eighty days time pro bono which if framed within our organisations structure would be a member of staff for nearly 19 weeks or if we paid on a consultancy basis we would be looking at costs of around £11,000. The associates will all receive a benefits package that includes a reference / recommendation, an introduction to a leader in the sector who will be well placed to add value to their career, a Thomas International PPA profile with feedback and a complimentary CIMSPA management membership.

The programme has evolved from the first round of projects that we co-ordinated between November 20 and January 21, within the second round:

  • We will work in partnership with other organisations, the projects will be collaborations that work on shared problems. Surfing England and Snowsport England are joining us on a project that will explore the commonalities of roles in lifestyle sport. Women in Sport will help us tell the story of prominent female practitioners from the parkour world. A central part of our vision is to work in collaboration with likeminded and similarly motivated organisations to share services and contribute to a modernised sports sector which is more financially sustainable, better uses resources and relies less on government / lottery funds. 
  • Associates have been recruited from the parkour community to ensure the projects connect with companies, brands and practitioners so that the results are authentic. Another central part to our vision is to build a structure that is underpinned by the community, incorporating voluntary effort through ex oficio roles and professionals / specialists through paid roles recruited against sector standards.
  • We are working with Sheffield Hallam University to offer their students a lived experience in lifestyle sport. The opportunity is part of an applied learning module within the MSc Sport Business Management course and the international students will bring a different perspective to the projects.

Projects

The five projects that the associates will work on all respond to gaps in our insight or challenges experienced by the parkour community. Over the coming weeks we will share blogs authored by practitioners which explain the problem and why the solution is important, for now though the projects are:

Parkour Parks – Overview of the parkour parks built across the UK and an explanation of their strengths and the preparation of a toolkit for groups and organisations that would like to commission or build a park.

Movement Card – Extension of the Movement Card to England, Wales and Northern Ireland with a communications plan to articulate what parkour is and isn’t.

Lifestyle Sport Roles – Explanation of the roles that exist within lifestyle sport which include coaching / instructor roles, company administration, content creation, athletes and elite performers, park designers, fashion and the media.

Empowering Women – Telling authentic stories of women participating in parkour through blogs, articles and media which outline entry points and barriers to participation.

Unstructured Insight – Listening to practitioners and brands from the unstructured community to explore their business, income streams, barriers and challenges, campaigns and causes, services and support, quick wins and immediate concerns.

 

People

The associates have been recruited from a wide range of backgrounds:

Sports Development Intent – This group are Charlie Broughton, Matt Hinchley, Carly Jones, Beth Marriott, Aislin O’Kelly, George Relf, Sam Strickson and Matt Watkiss, all share  a passion for sport and the impact that it can have on people’s lives. Collectively they draw experiences from governing bodies, national sports bodies and healthcare and all are keen to develop themselves in the areas of service improvement, business functions and operations / risk management.

Parkour – This group are Sam Coppack, Hugo Knowles, Chris Martin, Angus Uren, Louiseanne Wong and Kieran Wylde, all active practitioners and bring with them many years of training. Their experiences include coaching, running companies, performance, content creation and podcasting and they are keen to experience sports development and the operations of a national organisation.

Students – This group are Eleni Giagmouroglou and Foteini Tsoutsoura who are students at Sheffield Hallam University. They are engaging as part of an applied learning module through which they will submit a piece of work (12,000 words) which outlines the impact of the project on the host organisation (Parkour UK) and gives some reflections on their own development.

We look forward progressing each project and will plan to share the outputs in August / September.

If you would like to discuss the development associates programme; you may be interested in partnering with Parkour UK, supporting the benefits package or being an associate. Please get in touch via any of the following ways.

Sion Kitson – Reflections on the Workforce Sub Committee

Embarking on a Journey Back to its Roots

Since being invited to join the Parkour UK Workforce Sub-Committee 6 months ago it has been a privilege to witness and contribute to a fascinating journey where a sport is determined to provide great experiences not only for its participants but for its workforce too. The purpose of this committee is to develop and grow a Parkour ecosystem where the people that are the catalysts for the sport; the volunteers, coaches, tutors, administrators and private providers feel supported and valued to meet the needs of their customers as well as their own. To achieve this ambition the makeup of the committee consists of a range of technical Parkour experts and individuals with broader coaching and workforce development knowledge.

It is a vibrant group that is passionate about coaching and improving the journey its people who are delivering Parkour are on. In listening to the lived experiences of those members who are far more knowledgeable on the sport than I, it feels like it is a journey back to its roots. It is this notion that excites me as my limited perception of Parkour is one that appears grounded in a feeling of freedom, exploration and a strong sense of community.

As in society, sport and physical activity is changing and the 12m or so participants in receipt of coaching every year are demanding a more personalised experience that aligns with their own motivations and aspirations for being active. Like a number of organisations who exist to help people get and stay active, Parkour UK have recognised the fundamental role its people play and have a clear ambition to reframe coaching and place greater value on supporting its coaching workforce, whether they are volunteers or paid professionals.

Servicing the Short Term to Thrive in the Long Term

Coaching has been adversely impacted over the last 12 months as a result of the pandemic and Parkour UK acknowledge there are many individual circumstances where coaches, providers and school teachers require immediate support to ensure they are able to continue to engage the people in front of them effectively. Parkour UK are working hard to service that need by providing emergency coaching courses and redesigning various course content and delivery.

However, beyond the short term is a bolder long-term vision to create a more individualised and situated learning and development experience for its coaching workforce. What does that mean you ask? In short Parkour UK are aiming to establish the roots of the sport as prominent features in supporting the development of its future coaching workforce. 

At the last Workforce committee meeting in April I listened to the stories of those within the group with many years of practising and delivering Parkour. They speak to a higher purpose of the sport being centred in; promoting a sense of curiosity about self, nurturing and growing an inclusive community, connecting with others to stretch the boundaries of what is possible, fostering environments built around exploration, and supporting a self-improvement culture that permeates across the entire Parkour eco-system.  

For a relative outsider who has a keen interest in coaching and supporting people to realise the potential that they wish to achieve these are truly exciting steps to be considering.

Connecting its Roots to Coaching

Parkour UK are at the beginning of this journey and are keen to hear from its community to help them understand how they might achieve this vision. With that said, even in these early days a few fragments have emerged on this potential direction of travel;

  • Nurture a learning and development philosophy that centres on inclusion and the welfare of its people
  • Grow a coach development offer that is shaped by the Parkour Community
  • Offer a blend of contextual face to face and digital learning and development opportunities built around the idea of exploration
  • Provide situated coach developer opportunities that support, positively challenge and stetch individuals relevant to their specific context
  • Foster a diverse network of Parkour coaches across a range of settings where they are curious to learn, share and develop together

The Difference

Creating an ecosystem of this nature will take time and effort and fundamental to its success is bringing the Parkour Community on the journey working with them to shape a future everyone wants to be a part of. If this can be achieved over the next 5 years we would like to think that Parkour will have a coaching workforce made up of amazing people with the behaviours, knowledge and skills to offer great experiences to many more participants and that those participants receive a great experience to the extent where they build a lifelong passion and desire to be active.

And lastly, why is this important to me. Well, for two reasons. Firstly, I am passionate about coaching, my role at Sport England is to support the sector to create a highly respected, valued and motivated volunteer and professional coaching workforce that is representative of the communities they serve and being involved in this project aligns with that shared ambition. And secondly, on a more personal level I am a father of a 6 year old who has been attending Parkour classes in Milton Keynes with Paramount Parkour since last September and I am keen to ensure his experiences and those of every child who enter a Parkour environment are truly transformational for their a physical, mental and social well-being.

Sion Kitson

Development Manager (Coaching & Professional Workforce)

Sport England

Recruitment: Teacher’s CPD Tutors

Parkour UK is at a pivotal point in its development and executive capacity has now been in place for 6 months to deliver a strategy which supports the community to thrive 

In relation to the ‘Grow our community’ outcome in our ‘Move with Purpose strategy we have developed new course material and content for our 1s4 Sport Introductory Award in Teaching Parkour/Freerunning.

This is a oneday course for school teachers to allow them to develop a parkour offering within their PE content. 

With high demand for these courses, we would like to recruit a team of approx. 6 Teacher’s CPD tutors based across the UK who can deliver this oneday course on a freelance basis to teachers.  

To Apply
Download the full Role Description and details here.

Send a CV and cover letter outlining your suitability for the role. The cover letter should refer to your key knowledge and skills related to the role. The key responsibilities, knowledge and skills are listed below. Please also include the region in which you would mainly expect to deliver. 

Please send applications and any questions to – Chris.grant@parkour.uk Development Manager, Parkour UK 

Closing date for applications: Midnight Sunday 18 April.

Applications Open for Development Associate Programme

We are pleased to announce that our next run of Development Associate Projects are open for application. 

As we move into the second year of implementing our ‘Moving with Purpose’ strategy, Parkour UK are seeking participants for the second round of our Development Associates (DA) programme which will run from May to October 2021.

During the first year of implementation we have made a lot of progress, a summary of which can be found here. This project will support the development of Parkour UK, the lifestyle sports sector and most importantly give you the opportunity for your own career development.

For this round we encourage applications to come from the Parkour Community – for those looking to develop their experience across multiple areas of the sports sector and within Parkour. 

In summer and autumn we will be delivering projects exploring the following areas:

Please register your interest by completing the typeform here.

As the Development Associates package is a voluntary programme, we offer a host of benefits which will support your development and help you to make the most out of your time working with Parkour UK. In return for committing around 5 days of time over a 3 month period on one of the projects you will receive the following support and benefits:

  • Experience working in a new and innovative national governing body and exposure to the working practices of the wider sports sector.
  • Free year’s membership for Parkour UK at Participant or Professional Level.
  • A reference / recommendation of your work.
  • An introduction to a leader in the sector who will be well placed to add value to you and your career.
  • We will share your details with group of senior leaders active in the sector.
  • Thomas International PPA profile with feedback (this has a financial value of £75)
  • Complimentary CIMSPA management membership (this has a financial value of £140).

 

 

Funding Directory Launches!

Parkour UK has today launched a funding directory to support our organisations to access information on funding support for their projects.
The directory was researched and build through our Development Associates Programme – Thanks to Sarah and Becky for their hard work on this.

If you have any feedback comments or additions for the directory please contact us.

Along with the launch, we asked Frazer Meek to write some thoughts on his own success with funding.

Hi there – I’ m Frazer Meek, a professional freerunner and parkour company director in the UK. Ive got 16 years of training behind me now, and for pretty much all of that I have been working with companies and groups we have set up here in Wales!

Over my professional career, I have worked in a wide variety of areas with the sport, from professional performances, media work in film , TV and advertising. As well as a whole host of grassroots pathways with our coaching teams running regular classes, workshops, tasters and creating youth groups in the community – this has all led to our main venture of running Fluidity Freerun Academy the last 4.5 years which has been our biggest mission yet!

This blog post is just to give some important information on the nature of funding and info from our experience over the years – in which we have received around 60K + over perhaps 10 successful grant applications – which is a phenomenal amount to help a coaching organisation flourish!

First I’ll start with the problems we faced – from about 2008 we at Fluidity were trying to tap into funding that would help us with our ventures (and the dream of setting up our own indoor space) . This unfortunately was a heck of a lot harder than we thought it would be.
This was for a few main reasons:

1: Parkour was not a recognised sport, so we could not access specific sport funding.
2: It was incredibly hard to get advice on how was best to set up our organisations to best get funding – CIC , LTD , Charity etc were all options, but figuring out what route to go down and what funds are better accessible was incredibly hard to decide back then. 

At the end of the day, being 17 and trying to figure out how to get money from thin air to set up these dream projects we had was pretty hard to navigate!

Every fund we looked at Parkour completely ticked all the boxes when it came to sport, engagement and motives , so it was frustrating to say the least to figure out how we could get funding or investment for our ambitious project , especially without already having tens of thousands of pounds in the bank.

Ironically, in 2016 we had finally set the Academy up through other means, when shortly after in January 2017 Parkour had finally been recognised as an official sport, and with that there were grants finally accessible to us that we had been denied due to the sports recognition in previous years.

The most notable of these for us was a “Sports Development Grant” from SportWales.

A very important thing to remember here is that generally , limited businesses aren’t able to access most funds out there. Unfortunately we were set up as a Limited business due to the nature of our lease for our warehouse and the loans we took out to start the venture off, but we set up a not for profit organisation in the same name which we use for a lot of our community outreach and projects that we do out of the Academy. This allowed us to be able to still apply for these funds which help with the dual businesses.

In Wales, the sport development grant is up to 25k , and with years of pestering Sport Wales they were more than happy to start the process with us and have us as their first development grant in Wales for parkour.

We managed to get 17k which was for equipment, coach training and builds in the academy , with a 10% contribution from us (Ltd. businesses would have had to put in 50%!)

Other funds we accessed were regular rounds of Sports Community Chest funds , which were a max of £1500 and usually a few rounds of applications for  – these were paramount before we opened the Academy to help pay for coach trainings or to get equipment we used to take to classes.  The process on these grants with Sports Wales is incredibly easy and we have an amazing niche in the fact that Parkour in the community is still relatively new, so for most authorities they are very excited at the prospect of the application .

As well as your local authorities , there are a plenty of big UK funds going – Aviva Community Fund was one we got into the finalists 2 years in a row . Lottery Grants & Arts grants are all available and I’d say that the hardest thing generally is finding the funds and getting the ball rolling.

I am incredibly happy to see the Parkour UK Funding Directory being brought out as I personally know how invaluable it would have been for us over the years, especially in the beginning.  I’d like to reiterate that this money IS out there, and it IS designed to be accessible and useful for you , do not be put off or think you might not get it , like anything in parkour you just have to persevere and remember repetition is the key 😉

Good luck on your projects and I hope this directory can help set you on your way to funding your parkour projects (because lets face it , selling what we do is the easy bit here because parkour is awesome!)

Thanks for the read!