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!