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Innovative Leisure climbing walls prove a popular alternative to traditional activities

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Innovative Leisure Ltd., the UK based climbing attractions specialist, is currently enjoying an ever-widening customer base and an increasingly broadening end-user take up for its attractions, notably its mobile climbing towers.

Having established an enviable reputation within the attractions sector of the leisure industry for its range of physically challenging but fun climbing attractions at venues such as Centre Parcs, Legoland and Alton Towers, Innovative Leisure has noted an increasing number of organisations outside the mainstream leisure industry making use of its climbing attractions.

Local authorities, specialist schools, scout groups, youth groups and others are turning to its products and for a number of different reasons. For example, such climbing walls are suitable for all but the youngest of age groups and they include new technology called a hydraulic auto belay, meaning one member of staff can supervise up to 4 climbers. This has changed the economics, allowing organisations to offer the experience at an affordable rate to groups of young people, alongside other, more traditional sports. 

Among those to have recently added a wall is the Astely Burf Outdoor Adventure Centre near Dudley in the West Midlands, part of the Saltwells EDC training and conference centre, where centre manager Brenda Proctor is delighted with the latest addition to the venue’s offering.

“We accommodate groups from schools on activity days and one-off activities, ” she explained, “and offer a range of sports such as football, basketball, cricket, netball and archery and a small adventure playground. We used to have a wall from an outside agency but instead of renting one we thought we would buy one instead. The children think it’s absolutely wonderful and the benefits to them are excellent. They have to use different skills to other activities and gain a lot of confidence the more they use it, for example when they launch themselves off the top to drop back down again with that ‘dangerous but safe’ feeling.”

At Wennington Hall School, near Lancaster, another wall from Innovative Leisure has also recently been installed and again, is proving extremely popular with both children and staff.

Providing a Challenge with Controlled Risks

“Wennington Hall is a special needs school for children of secondary school age, so 11 to 16 year olds, ” explained teacher Carl Lowther. “We decided to install a climbing wall for a number of reasons and use it alongside the more traditional activities. It provides a challenge along with controlled risks, which the children recognise. It also offers them an outlet to challenge themselves and helps with co-ordination too.

“We also have to try and cater to what is the Play Station generation and that mentality. The children are all into extreme sports so the climbing wall taps into that way of thinking. Also, some pupils don’t want to take part in other sports but will try the wall. It’s going down very well with both the children and the staff.”

Also reaping the benefits of a wall is the local authority run Oxenwood Outdoor Education Centre in Wiltshire, which now operates a 7m. mobile climbing wall. Many different schools use the centre, ages of these groups ranging from 8 to 12, while as the venue is also part of the local Youth Service, they look to use the wall for teenagers too. It is also rented out to other groups such as the scouts and Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme.

“It’s certainly challenging for most of the kids, ” noted the centre’s Steve Chandler. “Some have been on a wall before and are therefore quite confident on it but others haven’t. They gain self-esteem, personal development and it’s a good team activity as their friends cheer them on as they climb. Even those who probably wouldn’t try normal climbing will have a go because with the auto belays they know it’s perfectly safe. And they also feel they’ve achieved something even if they only get half way up.”

“We have particularly noticed an upswing in interest in our climbing walls and towers, ” commented Innovative Leisure’s Managing Director Phil Pickersgill. “A wide range of organisations are now operating examples of these having installed them as alternatives to more traditional games and activities. They are finding that the walls provide a number of benefits for youngsters, not least the fact that some who may not get involved in sport generally are making use of the climbing wall and realising they can enjoy such activities after all.”

The 7m., 4 person mobile climbing towers used by the above organisations are just part of Innovative Leisure’s range of climbing attractions. They also offer unique motorised climbing simulators, Climbing Trees and now the brand new DigiWall, a computer based climbing wall attraction with a host of interactive features.

For further information please contact:
Phil Pickersgill, Managing Director, Innovative Leisure, Ltd.
Tel. + 44 (0)116 288 7263. Email: info@innovativeleisure.co.uk

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