Limerick is a beautiful city in the west of Ireland. Up until the start of the pandemic, it had hosted a small, but dedicated parkour community, but things died down in recent years.
Access Parkour met scholars from Mary Immaculate College in Limerick through our work in the Meaningfulness in PE project with Edinburgh University. (https://meaningfulpe.wordpress.com/2022/10/17/miys-at-access-parkour-edinburgh/)
Through that work, we were invited to Limerick with two purposes in mind:
Support the revitalisation of the local parkour community
Introduce the Mary Immaculate PE students to a non-competitive, play based approach to physical education, that aligns with their goals.
Supporting the local parkour community
Parkour has been slow to develop a professional coaching economy in Ireland due to a number of complicated factors: most notable is that Insurance and Public Liability remains a double edged sword. Groups were required to have qualifications and insurance in order to teach parkour, but there weren’t any recognised qualifications in the country to facilitate this.
However, the Limerick Sports Partnership is a dynamic organisation that has found a real demand for parkour in the city and was keen to support bringing a coach over and engaging with the local community.https://limericksports.ie/
We delivered a short parkour workshop to members of the existing parkour community as well as other interested locals. We played, explored and discussed the Access Parkour approach to teaching parkour, giving lots of examples and time to play. The sessions evolved into a parkour jam that continued well after the workshop finished. We then sat down to discuss next steps in the local parkour community and we’ve been delighted to see that a new instagram channel has kicked off with Parkour Limerick posting regularly. Give them a follow over at https://www.instagram.com/parkour.limerick/
We’re also aiming to continue supporting the local community as they begin coaching parkour to children and deciding on a qualifications framework that will work in Ireland.
Working with PE teaching students
Over at Mary Immaculate College, we got to geek out with the PE teaching students, introducing them to our Risk and Play course. This course is a one day course for those working with young people in active or outdoor settings that helps introduce parkour style play into their sessions. It includes class plans, explanations on how to keep children safe in play environments, discussions on risk taking and most importantly, examples of risk assessments. These show teachers, volunteers, youth workers and parents what they should be focusing their time and energy on to keep the children as safe as possible. Coaching parkour style play is an excellent tool to empower children to take charge of their own learning and opens up room for group discussions on risk management.
It’s always exciting to see how our approach to teaching parkour connects to many of the meaningfulness theories coming out of major specialist sporting universities like Mary Immaculate. In turn, travelling to and connecting with new communities is always a sure fire way for us to be inspired and continue developing ourselves. We were blown away by the enthusiasm and openness we found in Limerick for parkour methods and ideas, and can't wait to come back again to keep sharing, learning, and creating together.
Access Parkour offers bespoke training, team-building and consultancy services to all kinds of organisations and communities. If you're interested in finding out more, send an email to email@example.com.