Exciting times: popularity and participation of indoor climbing is booming, marching hand-in-chalk-bag with the exponential growth of climbing walls across the UK. These factors, in turn, are fuelling the number of people watching British Competition Climbing, which will undoubtedly receive a further fantastic boost in the run up to seeing climbing enter the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
Why do we need a Supporter scheme?
Medal hopefuls like Shauna Coxsey have recently secured funding of up to £630k from UK Sport. However, whilst this is great news for the sport, this funding is very specifically targeted and does not pay for the national talent development programmes, competition programme, or national team expenses, which provide the long-term pathways toward GB athletes finding success in the international arena.
Historically, these programmes have largely been possible due to Sport England funding, which is increasingly uncertain. Even with this funding, our competition climbing work would not be possible without the passionate and generous grassroots support of climbing centres and volunteers. We recognise that the hosting of BMC competitions is typically a loss-making activity for most climbing centres and the widespread free access offered to GB Climbing Team athletes to climbing centres is very generous; especially so for those centres which are heavily used by the team in cities such as Sheffield.
Naturally at the BMC we are looking at alternative ways of funding and for this we are already grateful to the Oakwood Climbing Centre in Wokingham and the Quay Climbing Centre in Exeter whose generous sponsorship wholly underwrites the GB Paraclimbing Team’s budget for the next three years. Similarly, Rock Over Climbing in Manchester has provided a much-needed training facility for the teams as well as additional funding.
Zoe Spriggins, BMC competitions programme manager, said: “There's no better time to support the GB Climbing Team than in the run up to the 2020 Olympic Games. With the UK's network of over 360 climbing walls, if even a handful of them sign up to the scheme it will generate a huge boost to what we can provide the Team in terms of support, tools for training, and our ability to better prepare them for international events. And if all the walls joined the scheme, we'd have funding for years to come!”
How to: become a ‘Supporter’ of British Competition Climbing
To enable climbing centres to help with the funding and show their support for the national teams we are re-launching the Gold, Silver and Bronze award scheme. Climbing Centres which sign up to the scheme will be individually acknowledged and thanked on the BMC website and digital communications. We will also provide participating walls with a display certificate which we hope you will display with pride at your centre. In addition Gold sponsors will automatically be offered free annual BMC Associateship membership in recognition of their contribution.
Graeme Alderson, director of The Climbing Works, said: “The Climbing Works is proud to have been the first Gold supporter in 2014 and we are proud to be the first again in 2018. I encourage all Climbing Centre owners who like us love competitions to get behind the scheme to provide financial support for the teams to help the athletes realise their international potential.”
For those wanting to participate the cost of Gold membership is £1,000pa Silver £500pa and Bronze £250pa.
To become a Supporter, please email Simon Lee, BMC commercial partnerships manager.
GB Climbing is supported by the BMC, Mountaineering Scotland, Clif Bar, and Duco.
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