BREAKING DOWN WALLS
Through its climbing skills and educational programmes it takes much of the fear away from getting started. Group, rather than private, lessons bring people together and doing something challenging and, let’s face it, pretty scary first-time round, is the ideal way for people of different backgrounds to bond. Climbing has manifested into welcome respite for people going through difficult moments in their personal lives.
“Climbing can have a massive impact and effect on people, often unexpectedly. We believe it improves quality of life and your physical and mental wellbeing. You learn new things about yourself and improve on certain areas you didn’t realise you could, all while socialising and meeting new people and sharing new experiences.”
Through its mobile climbing tower, Sunderland Wall has been able to bring climbing to communities that otherwise couldn’t access it, such as local schools and charities. By giving people a taster of what climbing has to offer, it hopes to inspire a long-lasting relationship with climbing, one that can lead to new friendships, greater confidence and deeper empathy.
But the Covid-19 lockdown in the UK brought all of Sunderland Wall’s work to a halt.
“Back in March, we had to close our doors for the first time ever, except Christmas day, to prepare for lockdown. This had a massive impact on us – we didn’t know how long it would go on for and, like everybody else, we didn’t know if there was going to be a light at the end of the tunnel and whether we’d come out on the other side,” says Ashleigh.