A group of parkour enthusiasts have launched a petition to encourage Bedford Borough Council to develop a dedicated park where youngsters can train safely.
Spiral Freerun work with young people and adults to develop their parkour and freerunning skills.
Described as ‘a way of expression by interacting with various obstacles and environment’ freerunning/parkour adopts moves from gymnastics and breakdancing to create fluid movement over everyday objects.
“We have been training in Bedford since we were very young, some of us for over 10 years,” explained Spiral Freerun’s Luke Brown.
“Over this time, we have been kicked off of numerous locations for ‘causing a disturbance’ to the public, despite attracting a crowd who would be encouraging us.
“Nevertheless, moving from location to location, there would always be a reason we would be moved on. Being athletes ourselves, we know that parkour/freerunning takes a very long time to become good at and requires tons of hours of practice.
“Since starting our classes at Spiral Freerun, we have realised that for our participants to reach the standard they want to reach, they either need to come to classes 3-4 times a week or they need to train outside in a safe environment and practice the skills we have taught them safely, with other like minded people. Unfortunately, Bedford has become an increasingly dangerous place over the years, especially for young people.”
As dedicated parkour parks have opened in nearby Milton Keynes and Northampton, Luke and the Spiral Freerun team are urging Bedford Borough Council to follow suit and create a similar facility here.
“A purpose-built outdoor parkour facility is a great way for people to practice safely without worry of causing a disturbance to others, be able to practice techniques on obstacles that are purpose built, build a community with others and make new friends,” said Luke.
“Something as simple as a parkour park gives Bedfordians and visitors the opportunity to learn Parkour for free under the supervision of professional coaches and athletes whilst having fun and making new friends.
“More importantly, it gives people a motive to do something instead of causing trouble due to a lack of things to do.
“By signing this petition, whether you have any interest in parkour or not, you are helping by providing people (especially young people who need things to do to keep them occupied and out of trouble) a purpose and a sense of belonging, helping to provide them with skills and push their boundaries past the point they ever thought was possible.”
The Spiral Freerun team estimate that the cost of the parkour park would be £25 – £35,000. They are hoping that a combination of crowd-funding, council support and investor backing will enable them to reach their target.
You can sign the petition here.