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“The support I got from the Volunteering Service was really useful!”

Kostas Pildish is a second-year Biochemistry student and the Project Leader for Natural and Free Running, an outreach project by the UCL Parkour Club. He spoke to us about running a Student-Led Volunteering Project and the impact it has had on him and the beneficiaries.

This year, we started Natural and Free Running. The project teaches Year 7 to 9 students at UCL Academy parkour skills, such as jumping and walking along rails. Sport psychology and mental strength exercises are not taught at amateur level sport sessions, but are essential in any sport and are very useful skills in general. That’s why I started this project.

“Some of the pupils were even better than us!”

We took a load of equipment - a vaulting box and precision rails - to each session. We expected to use them for level progression, but the pupils jumped straight into it! When we run sessions at UCL, participants often stick strictly to what we teach them. Whereas, when we took it into schools, the pupils were a lot more creative and excited to do their own thing. 

There were clear-cut levels among the pupils. Some were beginners, whereas others were at an amazingly high level. Some of the pupils were even better than us!

Starting and running this project has been a challenge, but one I’ve enjoyed! I’d definitely recommend the Student-Led Volunteering Programme to others - you get a rare opportunity to implement your own vision. It’s also given me really useful skills to take forward, such as volunteer management and organisation, and I think it’s improved my ability to teach Parkour as well.

Kostas Pildish

If Kostas’ story has inspired you, and you have your own vision for making a change in your community, take a look at our Student-Led Volunteering Programme

You can also take a look at the stories of other UCL volunteers and Project Leaders. Or, browse some of our other active and sports-based volunteering roles.