The future of climbing in Stroud: a plan

We have put together a plan for a climbing gym in Stroud that we think we could feasibly crowdfund, build and operate on a community-run basis. We now need feedback from the community:

Does this meet your needs?

Would you pledge to and use it?

Or, do we need to do something different?

We have until Thursday 23rd to secure the building. We need your urgent support to make this happen. Come to our community meeting at:

Location: Sanctuary Space at the Brimscombe Mill GL5 2QN 

Date and Time: Thursday 16th May 8pm

The Long Table closes at 8pm so please come a bit earlier if you would like to grab a beer before the meeting. And buy a few for your friends who might be late! 

Share our Pilot Funding page with your network to help this project.

A Plan for the Pilot

We have explored lots of options for a community owned and run climbing facility in Stroud, and uncovered a lot of the limiting factors. A large, modern, open-to-the-public facility requires lots of investment (around £250K+) – more than we think we can raise from the community as our first project. It also necessitates staff and various other complexities.

A smaller, membership-based, self-serve gym is more realistic as it reduces the complexity, and could potentially be funded by us, the climbing community. We’ve modelled this in some detail and want to explain what it would take to have a well-designed and built gym facility we could all use in Stroud.

We found an 800sq ft unit on the cycle path between Stroud and Nailsworth. It would cost around £37K to convert to a climbing gym and run for a year. By gym, we mean a training focussed facility, with woodies (overhung wooden boards for training bouldering), circuits (longer traverse routes for training endurance), and gym equipment (campus boards, stretching etc.). After the year is up, the costs reduce significantly for everyone (likely in the ball park of £12 to £15/month) if the number of users remains stable – and we’d have a low-cost, grassroots climbing community space. (It is also located very close to a cafe and brewery, just to mention).

To reach £37K, we would need a year’s commitment up-front from all founding participants. We have modelled 2 different options with varying levels of access: occasional and unlimited. Occasional users will get 4 sessions per month, unlimited is as it sounds for those that want to train a few times a week. In time, we also want to enable low-cost single visits for accompanied guests. We will roll this out when our core users have settled in, we’ve assessed usage patterns and are confident we can handle the capacity.

Design subject to change after consultations with Impact Route Setters

Were we to hit these numbers we would raise £37,800 and we could build a fully-fledged training gym. We are now members of the Association of British Climbing Walls and incorporated a company to form the legal entity on which insurance can be based and money handled. With fewer members than this we may still be able to go ahead with a smaller initial offer, and expand and improve as more people hear about it and come onboard.

The build would be a community effort. While there is a core team of volunteers, skills and energy from the user-base will help us get it up and running as quickly as possible. We aim to have the build complete within the first month.

We are not launching a crowdfunder straight away because we need to check with you, the potential users, as to whether this plan sounds like it meets a need for Stroud’s climbing community. We think a model around this scale is really the only viable option for initiating a fully community-owned and run project at this stage. If it is not suitable, then we would like to gather feedback on the plan so we can refocus efforts.

This gym would represent the first building block in a longer term strategy to bring climbing to Stroud. We think that by demonstrating demand and operational credibility we will be in a far stronger position to attract future funding, investment and support from organisations such as Stroud District Council. To be clear, this is not an operation from which any individual(s) will profit. Any surplus funds will be used towards the objectives of Stroud Climbing Commons.

Make Climbing Affordable

And inclusive to more people.

Support and Advocate

Influence policies and support more communities.

Pioneer and innovate

Build new ways of catalysing grassroots climbing.

We’d love to hear directly what people think, if there are any alternative ideas or locations, and other feedback about the future of climbing in Stroud. Come to the Long Table next week and share your views.

Please sign your name on the pledge on this page:

If we reach the target by Monday 20th, we’ll sign the lease and build the first ever commons owned climbing facility.

And do join our WhatsApp based community if you would like to contribute your time and expertise.

If this is a no-go for you, please fill in this very short form to tell us why, and what you’d prefer to see instead.

Thank you for reading and participating in whatever way you can.

The Stroud Climbing Commons Team.

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