Parkour craze comes to Kilburn

Free classes in the popular Parisian sport are on offer in South Kilburn

Youngsters are reclaiming their streets by taking up parkour, a sport in which people find new ways of navigating their urban environment.

Invented in the built-up suburbs of Paris, parkour transforms how people travel through the urban cityscape – by scaling, traversing, vaulting and leaping across the metropolis.

And now the popular sport, also known as freerunning, has come to South Kilburn.

Organised as part of a multi discipline arts project designed to inspire residents living in and around the South Kilburn estate to rediscover their environment and history, parkour trainers are teaching teenagers how to take up the sport.

“We want them to explore their environment in a different way and parkour does this – it turns the whole public realm into a playground and makes them view it with a new perspective”, explains Sophie Rigg, creative project manager of the six week scheme.

Ms Rigg says that this, combined with a healthy taste for adventure, attracts young people to the sport.

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“Parkour has that mix between creative skill and the physical activity that really appeals to them, and there is an element of risk taking too.”

There are two elements to the project – the outreach work done teaching teenagers how to take up parkour, and a video commission in which Kilburn based filmmaker Karen Palmer documents the process.

The project will encourage young people to look at, and interact, with their environment in a different and positive way while keeping them active, teaching them new skills and building their self esteem.

Young people aged 11 to 16 from South Kilburn interested in learning the art of parkour and film making can register at or attend the classes at every Saturday 11 am until 3pm until February 19.