Hi, I’m Hannah, I am hugely passionate about the sport sector, having had the privilege to have worked in the sector, and also been active and involved in sport all of my life. It was an honour to have been asked to reflect on Parkour UK’s November Board meeting. My role at Parkour UK is still relatively new, having joined the Board as an Independent Non-Executive Director in April this year. What an exciting, but unsettled time it has been for Parkour, and the sport & fitness sector in general.
What has struck me time and time again since joining the Board is the momentum at which Parkour UK is moving forward. Dan Newton, a visionary CEO, has only officially been in his role since July; Dan was joined in September by Chris Grant, Development Manager, and Omar Jackson, Development Co-ordinator – and the breadth and depth of work coming from a small executive team is outstanding. I have no doubt in my mind that Parkour UK can achieve what it sets out to, plus reach Tier 3 of the Code for Sports Governance and become a High Performing Board. As a national governing body (NGB) still in its infancy (and within its first year of public funding), the team are already doing everything possible to over deliver.
With the last board meeting coinciding with the AGM, and with new staff just one week in, it’s incredible to see so much has already happened in such a short space of time. This meeting was scheduled for three hours and it was packed to the brim with exciting developments. I am going to share information below on four key areas which definitely pack a punch!
There is strong support from the board to be proactive and not allow the Parkour community to suffer exponentially at the hands of Covid. As we navigate through these unprecedented times, the board have discussed the current impact of Covid19 and the potential impact on the structured community if an extended period of lockdown happens. The community’s voices are being heard louder than ever before and we are listening and taking action. There are various ways that the community is being impacted, as a board we considered the projected monthly running costs for Parkour companies, the number of coaches who will have been impacted and the exact levels of participation. All of which are having an effect on their bottom line.
There is an appetite to prepare a ‘build back better’ model, through which support could be offered to Parkour companies and practitioners. Exactly how this looks is yet to be determined, but there was an unanimous vote at this meeting in favour of taking action, so the wheels are now firmly in motion.
Development Associate Programme
Parkour UK has devised a leadership programme to bolster the executive capacity of the NGB in 2020/21. The executive team have recruited eight sports development professionals to form the first cohort. Importantly, this will secure an additional 40 days capacity between November 2020 and January 2021 to support the team to ‘run the governing body’ and ‘grow the sport’. The primary driver for the participants is that the experience they will gain will be aligned to an area of the CIMPSA sector standards that they have selected.
They will be working on one of four projects, which include a Toolkit for Emerging Parkour Businesses, Education Partnerships (School), Education Partnerships (University/Higher Education), and a Funding Directory.
I am looking forward to seeing the direct impact from these projects in the Parkour community, both at a local and national level.
Diversity & Inclusion Brains Trust
“Parkour is for everyone”… this is how Independent Board member Natasha Preville started her recent blog on this very important subject, which we as a governing body embed into everything we do. Not content with thinking we know our community and where they stand on this subject, we held a consultation event on the 11th November with 20+ members of the Parkour community and guest speakers from Women in Sport, Stonewall, Sporting Equals ad UKEMI to openly discuss equality and diversity and how we as a sport and a NGB are faring.
We have since orchestrated the Brains Trust, which will take place on the 14th December. We have invited organisations working in the sports sector to this session which will shape our ambitions and plans for the future.
We are also championing Stonewall’s Rainbow Laces campaign which gets behind LGBT inclusion in sport. We have sent out rainbow laces to the Parkour community to get behind the campaign and we plan to amplify the social media posts shared by our community on Rainbow Laces Day, 9th December.
In the last couple of months, a 24-point action plan has been prepared to satisfy the requirements of Tier 2a of the Code for Sports Governance and lay the foundation for Tier 3. Board appraisals have been scheduled for this month, along with a CPD session for all Board members in January. A small number of Board members, including myself, will oversee the progress being made and keep us on track.
Dan Newton is most definitely a mover and a shaker. Watch out for how the structure of Parkour UK shifts over the next few months…our ambition for the NGB is that of a modern, progressive governing body that is customer facing and works collaboratively to co-produce with and through the community. To this end, we are exploring a potential scheme of delegation so not only can we ‘build the governing body’, but we can ‘grow the sport’ too.
In conclusion, how have I found my first eight months in post?
Well, exactly what I hoped for… I am constantly inspired. I actually get quite choked up with the passion of everyone involved, and I am really excited for Parkour and Parkour UK’s future. In 2021 I will take the opportunity to get out and #GiveParkourAGo as well as meeting practitioners and members of the community.