The team behind creating the Rokt climbing centre in Brighouse have launched a new charity.
With around a year until climbing makes its debut in the Olympics, ROKT Foundation has become the UK’s newest climbing charity and has already secured funding for its first project focused on boosting women’s participation in the sport.
The sport will be the driving force of the charitable arm of ROKT Climbing Centre – home of the UK’s highest man-made outdoor climbing wall, Yorkshire’s tallest indoor wall and an Olympic-class bouldering facility.
Fuelled by deteriorating mental and physical health across the UK, ROKT Foundation aims to use climbing alongside nutritional education and other activities to support improvements in mental health while tackling key societal problems such as obesity and depression.
Katie Kinsella, the newly appointed Director of Community & Business Engagement for ROKT Foundation, said: “ROKT has an amazing facility and experienced staff that provide brilliant fun activities and attracts thousands through our doors each year from individuals to groups to schools.
"We now want to harness this momentum with climbing making its Olympic debut in 2020 to create opportunities for people who would not normally engage with us, climbing or any form of healthy activity.
“The Foundation is ambitious and we’ve already secured funding for our first project, which is a women’s climbing development programme to support those with busy lifestyles to either start or return to climbing.
"The programme will provide one-off tasters and rolling induction in to help get more women active. With climbing set to feature in next year’s Olympics, the Foundation wants to be able to support increased and renewed interest in the sport.
“We will be working with partners to provide the space at ROKT for things like creative and drama therapy sessions too, which can be targeted at young people and adults to help those that have experienced trauma.
"We will be exploring co-creating development courses that can support people back into work and teaming up with other charities on joint fundraising activities to support their charity and our Foundation.
“Over the next few years ROKT Foundation will be working with partners to become the go-to place for physical activity and mental health programmes that will have direct, measurable and evaluated benefits to people across West Yorkshire and beyond.”
Working initially across West Yorkshire, the charity believes climbing is one of the best ways to get healthy quickly and is great for improving mental health, but barriers to access remain. This can range from affordability to lack of confidence, myths about having to climb at height or even cultural differences.
The Foundation will join forces with other charities and delivery partners across West Yorkshire to create inclusive, effective, bespoke climbing and activity programmes.
Working with partner agencies including Yorkshire Sport Foundation, SmartMove, Mental Health Unmasked, Town Hall Foundation and many more it aims to help break down barriers to access and help all ages experience the opportunity to get healthier and think differently about leisure and fitness, combining the intertwined benefits to both physical and mental wellbeing.