Access Parkour

How Access parkour raised over £8,000 to bring a circus and parkour space to Edinburgh

When Edinburgh's only circus skills and parkour centre was forced to close its doors, John Hall knew he had to do something.

Instead of leaving hundreds of fans without a base to practise, the parkour pro decided to open his own teaching space - and he knew only Crowdfunder could make it happen.

John's vision was Access Parkour: a place where young and old could learn new skills, gain confidence and get fit.

But his start-up company, which embraced the city's Circus Alba and aerial skills business Freedom of Flight, couldn't get funding from the banks.

So he turned to Crowdfunder to raise the money he needed - and in less than a month, his dream had become a reality.

Now, thanks to printing company instantprint, Access Parkour is about to take another leap forward, after it was named Crowdfunder's Instant Love Project of the Month.

The award means Access Parkour will get 25 posters and 1000 flyers to advertise its forthcoming family fun day, allowing it to touch a whole new audience that digital marketing alone can't reach.

A series of fun-filled rewards, ranging from £1 backflips to trapeze and juggling lessons and Access Parkour's signature purple T-shirts inspired the crowd when John launched the project on Crowdfunder.

Backers snapped up innovative packages ranging from £35 circus skills classes, to master tricks like unicycling and diablo, to team-building days for £200.

In just 28 days, the new parkour and circus space had hit its target, and raised £8,038 to put the city back on the performing arts map.

"Edinburgh has an amazing artistic scene thanks to the festival," says John. 

"From homegrown performance art to stand-up comedy, it's all fantastic here."

But until last year, there was no circus hub in the city.

"There is a huge appetite for it, and when Full Cirqule closed, I knew we had to do something."

With the help of lawyers and advisers, John and his team ploughed through mountains of red tape so they could develop a huge warehouse they had discovered in the heart of the city.

A detailed business plan won the hearts of the crowd, and pledges poured in as volunteers worked tirelessly to prepare the space as the campaign thundered towards its target.

Now, the Instant Love award will help introduce more parents and children to the benefits of circus skills and parkour, which teach all ages to challenge themselves and manage risk - rather than avoid it.

"Parkour is still quite niche," says John.

"The first question most people still ask when you mention it is, 'what's that?'. But the image of a family fun day - which we're running to introduce people to what we do - is very clear.

"The Instant Love giveaway is going to help us do just that. There must always be a place for physical marketing, and we're delighted to have been chosen."

As soon as the space opens, classes will run every day. But the workshops will offer more than entertainment: they're about maintaining a healthy lifestyle for body and mind.

"Everyone knows what challenging ourselves means - setting ourselves a goal and achieving it," John says.

"But parkour and circus skills are very physical representations of challenge. 

"Moving safely through a playground or a concrete environment... you can take that mentality and apply it to almost anything you do.

"What we do is predisposed to a healthy lifestyle."

He says working with Crowdfunder proved a brilliant way of engaging the community."Crowdfunder has been absolutely fantastic from the start," John adds.

"I had absolutely no desire to ask anyone for money, but through Crowdfunder we realised we could do it differently - like give away £8,000 of really cool stuff.

"It's a stand-out way of raising funding when you need it. It's an intelligent win-win situation."

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