Train Hard Parkour based in Poole have seen a strong increase in women attending their parkour classes after running a series of women’s courses over the last 6 months. In September 2021 Train Hard received a significant grant from BCP council via the Bounce Back Challenge with support from Parkour UK through application process. This funding was aimed at bringing those participating less in physical activity into sport.
Train Hard saw this as a great opportunity to engage with women – who are under-represented in Parkour – and introduced 165 new women and girls into Parkour over a series of ‘Intro to Parkour’ sessions for various age groups ranging from 6 years old up to adults.
Viv Jackson, Phoebe Harley and the team at Train Hard created a positive, welcoming environment for a variety of women who were introduced to parkour in The Parkour Project – Train Hard’s venue.
With a focus on creating an entry point suitable for beginners, the team worked with many women who were completely new to parkour – preparing the women for the sessions and ensuring they felt comfortable:
“I was super nervous…..but everyone has been really kind and friendly and you don’t have to be super fit or super mobile to do it. It [the class] comes with warm ups and all the drills that we do before we do any Parkour. “
Said one participant
The sessions have really helped set a precedent of more women attending the classes at the Parkour Project more regularly with a proportion of the women moving from their ‘Intro to Parkour’ block into the main regular classes.
The BBC have covered the success of Train Hard’s work in this piece below.
Initiatives like Train Hard’s help to tackle a wider challenge across the UK of engaging women in sport and physical activities. Parkour can be used as a key tool to tackle inequalities in regards to access and attitudes towards taking part in sport.
“Unfortunately women are less likely to be active now than they were before the pandemic. Women struggle to be active for many reasons, not least because of fear of judgement and feeling unwelcome in sport and physical activity settings. Initiatives like Train Hard’s encourage more women to get active by providing a great atmosphere for them to experience a sense of freedom and fun in a non-judgemental setting. We need more initiatives like this across sport to help women return to activity post-pandemic.”
Said Liz Prinz of Women in Sport.