Parkour can give the impression of being the domain of people with high levels of gymnastic ability and a low fear threshold. The non-competitive sport is about finding the most efficient way to get from A to B, whether it be by jumping rolling, leaping, climbing or improvised moves. However, the discipline is also being used to reduce anti-social behaviour and foster healthy minds and bodies. It is closely related to free running, which places a greater emphasis on acrobatics and specific moves. Both forms are taught at The Showroom, an Activity Centre run by YMCA Lincolnshire as a social enterprise in Lincoln. Parkour teaches exponents - known as traceurs - to use discipline and self-control in calculating risks.
The club began by offering a single one-hour weekly session to eight beginners over six weeks. The Lottery grant paid for portable equipment specifically designed for parkour whereas before it had relied on gymnastics and re-purposed obstacle pieces. The new kit, including balance beams, rails and foam cubes, allowed a wider range of movements and challenges in a safe, supervised environment. Within a year the club expanded to five weekly sessions at The Showroom and bespoke session have been organised for other groups, agencies and schools. We have seen young people grow in confidence, increase in fitness as well as build relationships that span social divides.