Teenager’s classes ‘help keep youths off streets’

Nathan Kennedy, aged 19, with his National Youth Volunteering Award, and a group  of young people at a sporting session in Rossington.
Nathan Kennedy, aged 19, with his National Youth Volunteering Award, and a group of young people at a sporting session in Rossington.
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TEENAGER Nathan Kennedy is thought to have become Doncaster’s first professional free runner.

The 19-year-old from Rossington learned his skills just by running and jumping around near Doncaster College and in the park near Rossington Miners Welfare Club.

Free running – also called parkour – is sometimes described as an extreme sport. It involves running and climbing over obstacles.

Nathan has turned it into a career by starting up classes which have attracted hundreds of youngsters keen to get involved in the sport.

Now he has even been handed an award for his work, which is seen by the authorities as a way of tackling anti-social behaviour and inactivity in the local area.

He has been awarded the Young Achievers Award for 16 to 19-year-olds in the sport category.

Nathan’s classes ran t the Dome and he is now looking to start them again at another venue, yet to be finalised.

He said: “I’m not sure of anyone else who teaches it, so maybe I am the first parkour professional in the town!

“I was getting about 50 people per session, and there were about 250 people involved in all. Parkour is getting more and more popular.

“It is a sport you can do on your own, and which has an exciting risk element, but is still safe.

“I’ve never hurt myself doing it – I work out all my moves in advance so I know exactly what I’m doing.”

A spokesman for the awards said: “Nathan has proved himself to be an inspirational young person with a real interest in making Doncaster a happier place to live.

“In a short space of time Nathan has managed to establish a successful Parkour Academy in Doncaster. Since launching the academy he has undertaken coaching qualifications which have enabled him to work with up to 200 young people helping them to develop their parkour skills.

“The impact of Nathan’s Parkour Academy has been felt in the local community and police have reported a drop in anti-social behaviour on local estates.”

Nathan’s academy teaches young people to take responsibility for their own urban environment and respect the space in which they inhabit.

It is not the first project in the local area Nathan has undertaken.

Previously, he has established an inclusive theatre group which brought together 30 disabled and non-disabled youths.

The Young Achievers Awards recognise inspirational young volunteers.