Wisbech gym offers a safe place for free-runners and is bringing communities together through sport

Parkour proving a bridge between nationalities in Cambridgeshire town

A Wisbech gym offering a safe place for free-runners is looking to expand as more enthusiasts take part.

The sport, known as parkour, is also being used to bring communities together through a shared enthusiasm.

Up to 20 free-runners are using the Fenland Gymnastics Academy, in Algores Way, where the facilities help ensure everyone stays safe.

Coach Stewart Harrison said it was a great way of bringing different nationalities together in an area with a relatively high population of Eastern European residents.

'It's called freestyle gymnastics in here, rather than freerunning, and we advise them not to take it out on the street.

'If they were outside my house doing back-flips then I'd think they were a nuisance - but in here they're not causing any trouble.'

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Mr Harrison said a lot of Wisbech's freerunners were Eastern European - and the gymnastics sessions could be beneficial for young people from different backgrounds who come together to enjoy the sport.

'They walk through the door and it's a different world for them. This could be brilliant for community cohesion.'

He wants to work with Fenland District Council to find a larger premises to accommodate all his members.

He said: 'If the council got behind this it could really take off. If it's something we could provide for the benefit of the community we're more than happy to do it.'

The safe environment allows the gymnasts to try things they wouldn't be able to attempt on the street without the risk of injury.

A 15-year-old Latvian smashed his kneecap on concrete and was in plaster for six months before he joined the sessions in the gym.

A regular visitor to the gym is 20-year-old Vladimir Voronin, from Latvia. He is the cameraman for internet hit 'Slava P' who has racked up thousands of views on his free-running YouTube videos.

His videos are inspiring other young Eastern Europeans to take up free-running,

Freestyle gymnastics sessions at the club cost �4 and take place at the academy on Saturdays from 5-7pm.

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