The first dedicated Parkour facility in the Wokingham Borough is due to be officially opened on Friday June 8 at Sol Joel Park in Earley from 2pm.
Wokingham Borough Mayor Cllr Bob Wyatt and Earley Town Mayor Cllr Pauline Jorgensen will be officially opening the facility with the help of Parkour experts who will also be demonstrating the discipline.
The facility has been made available to local residents thanks to the combined efforts of Earley Town Council and Wokingham Borough Council and an investment of £85,000 through Section 106 funding specifically for the use of children’s play areas.
Parkour, also known as free-running, is increasingly popular in the UK and is a physical discipline which focuses on efficient movement around obstacles. The main purpose of the discipline is for participants to move through their environment by vaulting, rolling, running, climbing, and jumping.
This new facility in Earley aims to mimic an urban landscape and will contain dozens of objects commonly found in a real city environment that Parkour or free-running practitioners can use to practice the sport within a safe and dedicated environment.
An estimated 40,000 people regularly take part in the sport, but unlike many other sports, there are currently very few dedicated Parkour facilities in the country. This facility in the Wokingham Borough is the first in the south east region.
Cllr Angus Ross, executive member for environment, said: "This facility is a fantastic addition to the Wokingham Borough and will give young people, who are perhaps too old for conventional parks and playgrounds, something to try out. We also hope it helps tackle childhood obesity and anti-social behaviour.
Sol Joel Park was chosen because of its good transport links with Earley train station a few minutes walk away and the 190 bus service stopping just outside the park.
Wokingham Borough Council Mayor Cllr Bob Wyatt said: "Young people often say that there are very few things for them to do so we hope that this new facility that is one of the first in the south east region will give them something to enjoy and also keep active."
Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, Earley Town Mayor, said: "This new facility will complement the current skate park and BMX track and we hope will have excellent knock-on benefits for young people and the community.
"The good thing is that people using it don’t need any special kit other than a pair of trainers."