YOUNGSTERS are getting a life-changing outdoor experience thanks to funds from three organisations for a new high ropes course.
The Ambleside based youth charity, Brathay Trust secured £15,000 from the Sir John Fisher Foundation, £2,500 from the Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation and a loan of £27,000 from social investor First Ark to replace its 10 year old course with a brand new one.
The two tiered ropes course, supported on poles and spanning 700 square feet, links to a climbing wall. It offers 250 feet of bi-directional linear challenges to suit a range of abilities.
Kieran Whitby from Kings Leadership Academy in Liverpool was the first to use it when his year nine school group came to Brathay in March for a three day residential. His Brathay tutor, Graham Jones said that although Kieran was unsure at first, he went on to volunteer to lead his group. And, as his confidence grew, he was then able to problem-solve, coach and encourage his peers. Back on the ground the verdict from Kieran was, ‘that it was pretty cool’.
Graham Jones says the high ropes course offers a unique and challenging personal development and team-building experience. Mr Jones said: “Ropes courses provide an amazing learning experience because they take you right out of your comfort zone even though they are actually very safe. Youngsters discover that they can do things they feel very uncomfortable about. This group of teenagers were looking to gain self-awareness, self-leadership, listening, communication, engagement and contribution skills. Given the technicalities of working the safety system, and the challenges of negotiating the course itself, they also learned about personal responsibility.
“For some young people we work with, who have had a very difficult start in life, the high ropes course can give them a new perspective, including what they are capable of” added Graham Jones.
Brathay works with 7,000 young people a year in the north of England. Many visit Brathay Hall and use the ropes course as part of their learning experience. The new facilities will also be used by apprentices and adults on Brathay’s other development programmes.
The 70 year old charity’s mission is to improve the life chances of children, young people and families by inspiring them to engage positively in their communities. Revenue from Brathay’s People and Organisation Development consultancy, along with enterprising fundraising, support from individuals, businesses and partners, helps to fund this work.
Visitors to the charity’s ‘Go Active Day at Brathay’ on Sunday 21 May will be able to try out the new high ropes course. For more information visit: https://www.brathaychallenges.com/events/running/marathon/go-active-at-brathay