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Town’s climbing centre set to rise again after lockdown – and bigger than ever

PUBLISHED: 09:03 17 June 2020 | UPDATED: 10:11 17 June 2020

The new Clip 'n' Climb centre in Ipswich was open for just nine months when the pandemic struck  Picture: CLIP 'N' CLIMB

The new Clip 'n' Climb centre in Ipswich was open for just nine months when the pandemic struck Picture: CLIP 'N' CLIMB

Clip 'n' Climb

The world’s largest climbing centre of its kind has been given a £27k boost to help it find its feet when the coronavirus lockdown ends.

The new Clip 'n' Climb centre in Ipswich has been awarded a £27k grant to help it adjust to new social distancing rules  Picture: CLIP 'N' CLIMBThe new Clip 'n' Climb centre in Ipswich has been awarded a £27k grant to help it adjust to new social distancing rules Picture: CLIP 'N' CLIMB

Clip ‘n’ Climb in Ipswich had been launched for just nine months when the pandemic struck, and it had to shut.

But now thanks to a Covid-19 scheme launched by business support organisation New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) it has been able to invest in new walls and equipment to help maintain social distancing inside the centre.

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Now Clip ‘n’ Climb – which is run by friends Mark Patterson and Josh Davey – plans to re-establish itself as the largest centre of its kind in the world, offering 46 climbing lines when it reopens after lockdown.

The business was awarded the grant aid through the Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme, which was established by the LEP in response to Covid-19.

The new Clip 'n' Climb centre in Ipswich is being helped to adjust to new coronavirus distancing rules thanks to a scheme launched by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)  Picture: CLIP 'N' CLIMBThe new Clip 'n' Climb centre in Ipswich is being helped to adjust to new coronavirus distancing rules thanks to a scheme launched by New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Picture: CLIP 'N' CLIMB

It provides grants to support short-term business resilience and longer-term recovery and diversification projects.

Current social distancing guidelines mean the company would have to reduce the number of climbers it could accommodate, and this would have a significant impact on its turnover.

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To mitigate the risk, the UK’s only purpose-built climbing facility is investing in new equipment that will increase capacity and allow it to operate within the rules when it reopens later this summer.

An ascendor climbing wall is a two-sided challenge suitable for all abilities, while the Totem climbing wall will be for “the thrill-seeker who loves the adrenaline rush, but not too challenging that a novice could join in the fun”.

A new caving ladder will be a rope ladder which attaches from the ceiling to the floor and can be used by anyone.

Mark Patterson said that in the longer term, the grant was a game-changer for their business. “This grant is massive for us. In the short term, it means we can open with a bang rather than a whimper and we can safely welcome a lot more climbers,” he said.

“By taking Clip ‘n’ Climb to 46 lines, we will be recognised as the largest climbing centre of its kind in the world, which puts us in a hugely advantageous position.

“We will appeal to a larger market, with options for everyone from the beginner to the advanced climber and give our repeat climbers exciting new experiences.”

To find out more about the Business Resilience and Recovery Scheme, visit here.

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