Scarborough charity exploring feasibility of new specialist indoor climbing and skating centre

Scarborough residents are being encouraged to share their views on the creation of a new specialist indoor climbing, bouldering and skating centre in the town.

Thursday, 4th November 2021, 11:36 am
Updated Thursday, 4th November 2021, 4:54 pm
Mel Bonney with Guyllie, Richard Robson, Graziella Brownbridge and Dave Scriver climbing at The Street.

Coast and Vale Community Action is in the early stages of a feasibility study with a climbing wall inspection company to create the facility, and hope to complete it by the end of the year.

Mel Bonney, chief executive at CaVCA, said Scarborough already has a "strong climbing community" but most are forced to travel to Hull, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield to find more challenging facilities, spending their money elsewhere.

"At this stage we’ve had a number of conversations, we’ve found someone who is willing to put together a feasibility study and business case which would then be used to draw in the levels of investment that we would need.

Mel Bonney in action on The Street's climbing wall.

"It’s early stages, but we believe it’s a no brainer. We’re really passionate about it," she said.

The town’s only current climbing wall is at The Street on Lower Clark Street but it is only 10 metres high with six top ropes, which climbers attach to.

Climbing and skateboarding saw an explosion of interest this summer after they debuted as Olympic sports at the 2020 Tokyo games.

"We’re constantly grappling with the challenge of raising the aspirations of young people in Scarborough," said Mel. "Climbing, skating and bouldering are all now Olympic sports; what better way of inspiring them.

Mel Bonney, in blue, and Graziella Brownbridge scale the heights.

"The job creation by having skilled young people who can train to be climbing instructors. It’s a really good way of driving up aspirations."

Mel said that climbing is a "fantastic diversionary activity" – activities which help reduce youth offending and antisocial behaviour – likening the impact to that of boxing and martial arts as well as helping to alleviate and manage stress. "It's a massively valuable tool in helping young people develop their self control and reactions to anger and threat."

The facility would be led, run and designed by climbers, boulderers and skaters and hopes to create something similar to climbing centre Rockcity in Hull, with the possibility of incorporating Scarborough’s surfing community too.

"If we want to attract those sort of tourists who are more interested in more traditional outdoor activities then actually having something where the outdoors is brought inside in a safe environment would appeal," she said.

Dave Scriver poses on the wall.

Scarborough's skaters launched a petition in June for a new indoor skatepark as an alternative to the outdoor facility on Marine Drive – Hairy Bob’s Skatepark – which is dangerous to use when wet during winter, or as a result of sea fret.

Mel said said some of the larger climbing gyms she has visited have indoor children’s soft play and adventure areas and "there’s no reason why that couldn’t be incorporated".

The initial response from residents has been "very, very positive", Mel said.

While no final location has been determined, she is enthusiastic about creating a space in the North Bay.

Residents can make their views known by making a visit to the climbing wall or emailing [email protected]

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