As we near the halfway mark in 2021, I reflect on my journey as an Independent Director at Parkour UK. Entering my second year of service, I remain in awe at the resilience, growth and transformative power of our Sport and practice. We have all experienced a year like no other and the team have worked tirelessly to provide guidance and support to our communities and practitioners in any way they could. We have strived to build sustainable ecosystems through widening engagements, participation, strategy and investment that continue to enable Parkour and the dynamic and adaptable nature of its practice, to thrive, ‘Moving with Purpose’ through 2021 and beyond.
Sport England Award:
Since our last update earlier in the year, we are delighted to announce Parkour UK will be a recipient of continued Sport England funding, testament to their support in the development of Parkour UK as a National Governing Body. The award of £120,240 will help sustain our Executive capacity in 2021/22; prioritising areas such as strategy, financial sustainability, insight and governance.
Extension of Sub Committees and Working groups:
One of the many reasons I love my work as an Independent Director for Parkour UK is the unwavering commitment of my fellow peers, our Exec team and expanding Workforce Committees, Partners and Supporters; they bring to life the ambition and demonstration of a modern, progressive governing body: One that is customer facing and works collaboratively to coproduce with and through the community.
Our ‘Moving with Purpose’ strategy has continued to meet fruition as we build and grow in the following areas: Digital Workforce, Space & Place, Economy, Mental Health, Life course (all age / intergenerational activity), Inclusion & Diversity and Storytelling. I am particularly excited to be involved in driving forward our work in the realm of Diversity & Inclusion. As a society and as a human being within it, if this year has taught us anything, for me, there is no place for division, we ALL know that in authentic unity, there is strength. To this end, during the Summer, we plan to bring together four more Sub-Committees and Working Groups to strengthen our work in Diversity & Inclusion, Space & Place, Digital and Storytelling.
We want to build on the insight report on the structured community launched in September 2020 by David Butler. In response, we have commissioned a second report for the unstructured community, working again with David Butler. In addition, Rob Young (RY Consulting) will work with us to build capacity in order to help us gain an independent view / perspective. We endeavour to initially speak with 15 – 20 Companies to explore; their brands, businesses, income streams, barriers and challenges, campaigns and causes, services and support, quick wins and immediate concerns (not a short list).
Parkour UK is also cognizant of our structured communities and to that end, we want to take a deep-dive approach to gain a comprehensive insight into some well-known Parkour names and brands within the unstructured world: Our initial work will include brands such as Ampisound, Jimmy the Giant, MOTUS etc.
Observations on the Digital Roadmap:
Digital literacy, marketing and engagement is important now, more than ever. We are living in a normalcy where the video call is king. As Covid-19 restrictions begin to ease, Parkour UK have kept the lens on the development of our Digital Roadmap, produced by 7 League and first shared in February 2021. As part of our due diligence, we looked at a variety of lifestyle Sports and it quickly became apparent we had numerous similarities with Skateboard GB. With this identified, March 2021 saw us convene meetings with Lewis Wiltshire and Lenka Istvanova (7 League) and Adam Freeman-Pask (Sport England) to explore the next steps… Unity is strength, once more, through shared insights around community engagement, areas for development and sustainable growth. The outcomes of the meeting concluded the key areas of focus would be; digital strategy, systems and processes and content and community engagement. We are thrilled to be in a position to continue working with 7 League and wider partners to further develop our Digital Strategy… Watch this space for updates.
Progress with Community and Stakeholder Relationships:
Our most recent CEO Report, by Dan Newton continued to make encouraging reading, particularly in reference to structured and unstructured relationships monitored between September 2020 and April 2021; all of which showed growth, improved engagement, where numerous relationships were viewed as “positive with intent to support”. This is humbling news as we continue to grow steadily and we very much look forward to building on our new and existing relationships during the next phase(s) of our development.
Diversity and Inclusion: Women’s Empowerment
Last, but certainly not least, I want to highlight a(nother) area close to my heart and the shared ambition of Parkour UK and our communities. Giving a platform, giving a space and place, giving (back) of power and reflecting and learning, then doing better, is the order of the day, when I think of empowering women in sport. Entering the second round of the programme, we are working in tandem with Women in Sport, to look at the perspective of women in Parkour and the stories they tell; including, but not limited to, the lack of female role models, lack of representation in Parkour media, barriers to entering / engaging with Parkour to name a few. When exploring the lifecycle of sporting activity, it was found ‘girls tend to stop doing sport as they reach their teens’, furthermore, ‘women doing sport want to feel included and integrated into their communities and want do sport as part of their lifestyle’. We all have a commitment to make this happen. We continue to proudly work with Women in Sport to help us eradicate inequality of access, experience and participation with Parkour, through storytelling, content creation and media; promoting equitable access, positive role models, all within safe and inclusive environments.
As we all adapt our lives and overcome unforeseen challenges, we gain insights, we learn, we grow and we do better. We have entered unchartered territory with boundaries constantly shifting in the world around us, however, Parkour UK remains stalwart in our commitment and we continue to work tirelessly to ensure, as a National Governing Body, we uphold and demonstrate the change we want to see.
Parkour UK Board