Healthy start for free-running family

Jonny has been a City West Housing Trust customer for the last two years, when he moved back to Salford from North Wales with his girlfriend and their son Jack.

Jack, who is on medication for ADHD, had never really been interested in any structured activity He wasn’t able to develop friendships with children in school and his speech was limited to statements rather than conversations.

Jonny saw a tweet from Greater Manchester Police advertising a two-week parkour and free-running camp run in partnership between Lancashire Cricket Club’s Sporting Foundations for Life project, Evolve (a local parkour and free running gym) and City West Housing Trust. He thought it could be something which would interest Jack.

The first session captured Jack’s imagination and since then he has been hooked.

At the end of the programme, Jonny took up Evolve’s offer of a free taster session for Jack at their gym. He loved it, so Jonny signed Jack up as a member for two sessions a week.

Jack now goes to a session six days a week to practice and develop his skills. Finding a sport to focus on has helped Jack channel his adventurous side in a safe and structured way and his growing confidence has seen him take part in a recent Showcase at a local shopping centre.

Jonny has made good friendships and is now comfortable enough to have conversations with both other children and older people. His behaviour at home has also changed significantly. Before the sessions Jack had a broken sleeping pattern. Now he is finding it easier to get to bed and has a full night’s sleep.

Jack becoming involved in parkour and free running has also had a hugely beneficial effect on his family.

Jack’s dad Jonny, currently unemployed for health reasons, has built a good relationship with the Parkour team. Taking Jack along to sessions, Jonny started helping out with setting up and putting away equipment, slowly began to offer more support and he is now an integral part of the team as a volunteer assistant. Jonny has also taken steps to improve his health by taking part in Parkour sessions himself and joining a Thai boxing club – losing over a stone in weight.

“I’m interacting with people on a more regular basis which has helped my mental health issues and I feel much more positive,” Jonny says. “The team at Evolve have really encouraged me which has helped so much, and they’ve even put a training programme together to support my development further. It’s changed both Jack’s and my life for the better.”

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