News, events and schools' information for families across Bristol

A group of students in Years 8 and 9 at Fairfield High School in Bristol have been given the opportunity to develop their fitness, strength and balance, as well as other skills such as team work, focus and confidence thanks to a 10 week rock climbing programme run by Urban Uprising at The Mothership Climbing Academy in Bristol.

Whilst the programme is in its early stages, the benefits are already clear to see, as Year 8 student Rosie explained. “I think the programme is really good for mental health and it helps get kids to try something they might never have done before. It distracts you and makes you happy in that moment which is really important. It is also really challenging and requires a lot of perseverance. I’m excited about what the next few weeks will bring.”

This feedback is reinforced and recognised on a much wider scale, as stated by the NHS: ‘Climbing involves concentration and thought as well as physical exercise which helps keep you focused, clears your mind of outside worries and also builds your confidence and self-esteem, alleviating the symptoms of some mental health problems.’

This is especially important in light of the past year with the ups and downs the pandemic has brought; the effects on some young people have been well documented and initiatives such as these can only be a positive step forward as restrictions are easing. 

Nick Vines, Urban Uprising volunteer, commented, “The difference between the first and second session is vast. In session one, the kids were understandably more nervous and curious with echoes of ‘can’ts’ and ‘impossibles’ but in session two the kids were more engaged and loved the logging of each route they climbed. It was rewarding for us to see kids who didn’t succeed the first time round keep trying until they did. This attitude is a core part of climbing and something that I personally carry with me throughout life.”

At the end of the 10 week course, students are expected to gain a Level 3 climbing qualification, with the option to progress further.