The new indoor climbing wall at the Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre was officially opened on Wednesday 18th September by Street Factory’s Toby Gorniak MBE along with students from Woodlands School.

‘The Boathouse Climb’, as the new facility has been named, has been made possible due to funding from a range of partners and will provide inclusive climbing opportunities for children from Plymouth with special educational needs and physical disabilities for years to come.

The Sport England Community Asset Fund, The Peter Harrison Foundation, The ACT Foundation, The Foxglove Trust and Lodge of Prudence No. 1550 Caerphilly were the five funding and grant partners which have enabled The Mount Batten Centre Charity Trust to build this inclusive facility on site at the Centre.

Alex King, Centre Director for the Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre said: “We were delighted to welcome Toby, and students from Woodlands School, here to the Centre to officially open our climbing wall. We pride ourselves on partnership working with like-minded groups, agencies and organisations across the city and this event is testament to that.”

‘The Boathouse Climb’ was manufactured by Entre-Prises, and has been designed specifically to accommodate children with special educational needs and physical disabilities. Fifty six square metres of high quality lightwave wall with nine climbing lines complete with bright climbing holds to aid those with visual impairments, slabs with easier angles of incline, an overhang for lower limb disabilities and secured hoisting points for assisted lifting complete the bespoke designed climbing wall.

Jack Jago from Entre-Prises said:

“It was an absolute privilege to be at the Mount Batten Centre for the official opening of The Boathouse Climb. From the initial conversations and site visits to seeing the children enjoying themselves and having a go on the wall is amazing. We pride ourselves on being able to provide accessible solutions to enable everyone to enjoy climbing and this facility really proves that.”

Katy Wedgwood, Physical Educational Co-ordinator for Woodlands School says:

“The Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre is one of our best partners for the provision of inclusive sporting activities in Plymouth. Their staff are passionate about providing sporting opportunities for our students by ensuring that all activities are provided at the right level and by connecting on a personal level with our students. Their new climbing facility compliments their existing range of equipment that enable our students to access adventurous activities, some of whom may never have considered that they could experience climbing, sailing, bell-boating or power-boating.  The Centre is like our second home and we all love coming here.”

The Mount Batten Centre Charity Trust was formed in December 2014, after the Centre had previously been run as a not-for-profit organisation. Successfully satisfying the strict criteria governed by Charity Law, the Centre has always considered the ‘advancement of education’ and the ‘advancement of amateur sport’ at its core and ‘to promote, sustain and increase individual and collective knowledge and understanding of specific areas of study, skills and expertise.’ The Centre also satisfies the criteria of ‘public benefit requirement’ – as one of the leading Watersports and Activities Centres in the South West, the Mount Batten Centre provides activities, courses and programmes that both individuals, clubs and event organisers greatly benefit from.

Toby Gorniak MBE of Street Factory CIC cut the ribbon for The Boathouse Climb and then treated the children to some of his trademark street dance moves before encouraging everyone to join in. In return Toby joined the children by experiencing the first climb on the new wall.

Toby said: “The atmosphere was super buzzin. What an honour to be asked to open The Boathouse Climb by the Mount Batten Centre team. The Centre is a really special place and has all the qualities we at Street Factory CIC  embrace – community, inclusivity and accessibility for all – we love working with these guys.”

Sam Waites, Watersports and Activities Manager at the Mount Batten Watersports and Activities Centre adds: 

“Watching the children enjoy the new climbing wall for the first time has just been brilliant. None of this would have been possible if it wasn’t for the grants and funding that the Charity Trust have received and for the innovation and vision from the team at Entre-Prises to create the facility in this unique space.”