Climbing taster success leads to qualification for tenants

North Wales Housing tenants have earned a Level 1 NICAS (The National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme) qualification as part of their new Opening Doors project.

The project is a partnership between North Wales Housing, Outdoor Partnership and the Conway Centres Anglesey. It was developed with the aim of giving tenants high quality outdoor activity experiences, with the option of gaining a qualification and improving employment opportunities in the outdoor sector workforce.

The project received Gwynt y Môr funding in September 2016 and climbing was the first activity offered to tenants in Conwy.

Participants attended a course one day a week for 8 weeks, starting off on a smaller wall at the Conway Centre Anglesey, gradually moving on to bigger indoor climbing walls and finally outside!

Sally Ward, Conway Centre Anglesey who led the climbing sessions saw the difference first hand throughout the sessions:

“Teaching people how to climb and enjoy the outdoors is a passion of mine, and to share this passion with new people has been really interesting.”

“This course was designed to give people who might not normally get this kind of opportunity to try something new in the Outdoors. The participants who took up this opportunity varied from people who were completely inactive to people who had tried climbing in their youth, and an age range of 20’s to 50’s.”

“I think from day one everyone surprised themselves, being able to climb things they didn’t at first feel was possible and stepping out of their comfort zones, showing real determination and perseverance but more importantly having fun! I felt proud and privileged to watch their journey from day one to day eight, I could happily say that those people who completed the course are now climbers! Their confidence has grown and not just with climbing and believing in themselves but socially too.”

One of the tenants who took part in the course feels like he’s benefited in many ways:

“I’ve really enjoyed myself on this course. I had never climbed before so it was great to learn new things.”

“I’ve benefited loads from the course; not only have I learned new skills but I’ve also met some nice people. And I’ve improved my fitness – bonus!”

Owain Williams – Pathways to Employment, Outdoor Partnership

“There’s been a massive change from start to finish in those who took part. The group who took on the climbing course are now independent, knowledgeable and keen for more challenges.”

Iwan Evans, Tenant Participation Co-ordinator at North Wales Housing said:

“It was a pleasure to the see the participants grow in confidence over the 8 weeks and learn new skills. I’m pleased that they have developed and shown such an interest in climbing”

The great news is that the participants enjoyed the course so much that they want to carry on with climbing.

“We’re really pleased that they have developed a thirst for climbing, that’s what programmes such as this is all about. We have arranged further sessions for them so they can develop further.”

Climbing isn’t the only activity on offer to NWH tenants as part of the Opening Doors project. Iwan explained:

“The next session that’s already underway is hill walking; you don’t need any expensive equipment for walking, just a decent pair of shoes and a coat so we think this will appeal to anyone.”

“We’ve also got canoeing, paddling and mountain biking planned. If this is of interest to any of our Conwy tenants please get in touch.”

Sally’s pleased that participants from the climbing have already signed up to hill walking,

“It was a real joy to see some participants sign up for the next course, hill walking. I’m looking forward to seeing what changes are in store for those people involved and maybe bumping into people in the hills or at the climbing wall!”