Do you remember your first climbing experience? Almost 200 young people from across the Fylde Coast got their first taste of climbing at a festival held at Blackpool Sixth Form College.
The festival was organised by Outdoor Education NW, an AALA licensed activity provider who also deliver NICAS climbing courses at West View Climbing Centre.The event was provided free of charge to local schools and was ran in collaboration with West View who provided their mobile climbing tower and some additional staffing. A broad range of schools attended; primary, secondary, FE, and SEN, and all participants left with a NICAS Participation Certificate.
Graham Little from Outdoor Education NW stated: “We wanted to put on an event so that a high volume of young people could have their first taste of climbing in a relaxed, fun atmosphere.
“We hope that after this initial taster of climbing, more young people and schools will want to get involved in climbing again in the future through sessions with ourselves at a local wall or out on rock, or directly with NICAS registered walls such as West View.”
Research from Sports England has shown that offering free tasters, giving good coaching and showing the additional benefits of a sport can increase participation. In addition, having a climbing wall in a school not only boosts children's climbing grade, there are amazing benefits to health, academic performance, and social skills as well:
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Dave Woodcock, deputy headteacher from Waterloo, said: “There is a great culture of climbing at Waterloo; it breeds confidence, cooperation and resilience where children can realy push themselves in a controlled environment. Children from all over Flyde coast experienced it: a great event.”
Craig McCann, head of PE in Poulton-le-Fylde, stated: “This was a great event for our students. We brought a group to the event to have a fun experience of climbing and also to get them ready for completing a climbing module as part of their GCSE PE. We are now looking at working with Graham and Aled from Outdoor Education NW and with local secondary schools to start a bouldering league and climbing comp for secondary schools from across the Flyde coast.”
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