Youth mentor Kam giving back to Wellingborough estate with 'life-changing' calisthenics equipment

The 'rig' is the result of a six-year campaign by Kam Parmar to help young people on the Hemmingwell estate

By Alison Bagley
Thursday, 18th February 2021, 8:44 am

A Wellingborough man has fullfilled his ambition of seeing an outdoors training area being installed for people on the estate where he spent much of his youth.

Kam Parmar now works as a coach and mentor, specialising in supporting young people at risk of gang involvement, crime and social exclusion but he was involved in some of the same high risk activities as a teenager.

His discovery of calisthenics, a strength training regime and lifestyle, has helped shape his body and mind, and refocused his life helping vulnerable young people living on the Hemmingwell estate.

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Kam Parmar

The £22,000 'rig' for use by the whole community has been installed with the help of of a grant from Sport England and Wellingborough Council.

Mr Parmar said: "When I was growing up I got involved in fighting and some crime. My childhood wasn't easy.

"My mum left us and my dad worked all the hours to pay the mortgage and put food on the table - he tried his best, working in a factory.

"I had a second mum and dad on the Hemmingwell who looked after me and helped me. Thinking back I wanted attention but I got into all sorts of trouble and was arrested a few times.

Kam Parmar with the rig

"Now I'm doing this to give back and to help young people like me. I can relate to them - I know how it feels."

Now the 40-year-old father to three girls works with the Youth Offending Service, alternative education provisions and children in care.

He has become a champion of calisthenics, a form of strength training consisting of a variety of movements that exercise large muscle groups, with standing, grasping and pushing.

The exercises are often performed rhythmically and with minimal equipment, as bodyweight exercises.

The equipment

He trains adults and young people with a hybrid of gymnastic bodyweight exercises, strength training, bodybuilding and New Street Workout techniques.

Mr Parmar said: "For the last six years I have been trying to get calisthenics equipment built on the Hemmingwell estate, which is considered an area of deprivation.

"Through the support of the local community and other organisations we secured £22,000 to build a rig at the heart of the community. There have been so many obstacles but we got there.

"I would like thank Sport England, Wellinborough Council, Greatwell Homes, the Hope Project, ACE Workplace Learning, Simon Trundle, the Compound team, Anton Guidera and all the residents and volunteers for helping make this happen.

The Compound

"The benefits of calisthenics are life-changing. I'm living proof of this and I know this is going to have a positive impact on people's lives for many years. When I'm dead this rig will still be here."

The former Sir Christopher Hatton pupil has been working out of the estate's community centre Hemmingwell Community and Skills Centre in Nest Farm Crescent, home to 'The Compound', a fitness and well-being gym.

The Compound was set up in 2013 to give people of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicity, a chance to take part in physical and mental training with a difference.

He said: "We have supported over 600 young people within the community to improve their fitness and well-being by using equipment to improve their core strength. This also gives them discipline, focus and a sense of community.

"You have to be strong to do this exercise - strong in your body but also atrong in your mind. It's not easy and it takes practice.

"Knowing you've made a difference to young people's lives is a feeling that money can't buy. That feeling is so good."

The Compound offers fitness classes