Everyday Heroes: Born Barikor

Born BarikorBorn Barikor is the CEO of Our Parks UK – an innovative free physical activity service operating in many London boroughs.

Born’s journey to this point starts on his housing estate in London. Having nothing to do as a child and very little money to do it with, he lived by an athletics track where he and his friends used to mess around all day. From here, he gradually got involved in athletics, and it was at this point that he realised the impact that coaches could have on people.

‘My coaches were my biggest influence,’ he says. When he moved from performer to coach, having others who could teach something new was an important factor in his progression. ‘I got to meet people who I was able to share ideas with,’ Born says. This spiralled into him meeting lots of people from all over the UK, which was very powerful at the time.

Born’s driving force for becoming a coach was to inspire people like his coaches inspired him. Starting off as a fitness instructor before adding athletics, football and volleyball qualifications, he was determined to try every sport and to give everything a go once. ‘Transferable skills are so important,’ he says. ‘The best coaches are those who offer a variety in what they can do.’ Experiencing more allowed Born to become a better coach.

Through his development as a coach, Born never really accessed any support. ‘There are lots of people who have offered advice and helped me to become what I have,’ he says.

‘My driver now is the smiles,’ Born says. ‘The stories that you get from people are so powerful.’ Our Parks offer free activities in parks so they are making activity affordable. It’s high quality exercise that is being offered: ‘We believe we have the best coaches in the country because we put pride and effort into training them’.

Born continues to coach sessions on a weekly basis: ‘It’s important for me to stay fresh and active,’ he says. ‘I’m still an Our Parks coach, and I still want to be the best Our Parks coach.’ Quite a challenge for their workforce when the CEO wants to be the best coach they employ, but it inspires the coaches as they can see that Born is dedicated, and they respect that.

One of Born’s highlights as a coach is the ‘superhero fitness’ sessions that he created. Encouraging children to take part in 30 minutes of exercise while pretending to be their favourite superhero has proved to be a real winner as part of the Our Parks programme.

Inspiration for Born has come from Perry Shakes Dreyton’s coach Chris Zah. ‘I remember seeing him when I was training with other coaches when he was the "new" guy. Now, everyone wants to be in his squad,’ Born comments. ‘He has it all, he’s likeable, and the way in which he coaches is completely different to anyone else.’

Offering advice, Born is encouraging more coaches to embrace technology. ‘We live in an age where it’s at our fingertips. Coaches are using this technology during the day in their everyday life, use this for your coaching. Master it now, and you’ll get the best results.’

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