It’s always a pleasure to share success stories. You will no doubt have heard about the amazing work of Kelda Wood MBE and her team at the inspirational Climbing Out charity but did you know that Climbing Out was a Chamber member?

Kelda represented Great Britain in paracanoe, climbed Aconcagua - the highest mountain in South America - and who can forget the incredible achievement of becoming the first para rower to solo row the Atlantic Ocean?

She launched Climbing Out in 2010 and the charity’s work is accomplished in several ways, including the successful five-day outdoor activity programmes and walk and talk days - activities designed to support people in regaining their confidence, self-esteem and motivation and getting their lives back on track after suffering life-changing injury, illness or trauma.

Ongoing success story

It’s been a successful 12 years and the charity is continuing to grow and develop, as Kelda explained:

“We already have a full schedule of programmes lined up for next year - which includes Level 2 up in Scotland and Level 3 which will be a wilderness expedition in Sweden. Then, in 2024, we will be running a Level 4 programme for the first time, taking a group out to the Alps - so it’s a very exciting time for Climbing Out. 

“We have also been developing a team of ambassadors who are all previous participants in our programmes and they are getting involved to help raise awareness and signpost people who would benefit from Climbing Out. They will be talking about Climbing Out, the work we do and refer people into our space - it’s another major step forward for us.

“Climbing Out is in a good position after the pandemic and we actually came out of it stronger due to the way we were able to adapt through Covid. We kept working, kept supporting people but just did things in a different virtual way when we couldn’t run the five-day programmes. That gave us a lot of confidence.

“It gave us the time to network with organisations, raise awareness and get referrals through. We also developed relationships with the emergency services, the NHS and the military and we are doing a lot of work with them now as part of their recovery pathway.

“All this alongside supporting people who have been through injury, illness, bereavement, abuse and those who are survivors of crime and terrorism.”

Chamber membership

Kelda said Climbing Out joined the Chamber initially because of the networking opportunities it presented and the partnership has proved extremely beneficial. Climbing Out was a Chamber Patron for five years and is now benefitting from our All Inclusive membership through our Charity Ambassador Programme, which was launched with the financial support of Aico, Enterprise Flex-E-Rent and McPhillips.

Kelda added: “There are so many good businesses and good people in Shropshire - a real community of people working together to make things happen, whether that be as a business or with the charitable side of things.

“It has been an absolute privilege to be involved with the Chamber, they have helped and supported Climbing Out an awful lot but it has also given us a network of people to link with and engage with.

“It has helped us raise our profile but I hope we have also been able to give back to the Shropshire Community and Shropshire businesses with the work we are doing too. It’s a great two-way relationship and it’s just awesome to be involved.

“The amount of support I got from Shropshire businesses when I did the transatlantic row was amazing. Meeting them, going out and speaking to them, having them get involved with the whole sponsorship thing and making things happen was huge for me and Climbing Out.

A range of benefits

“The Chamber has also been beneficial in the general day-to-day running of Climbing Out, we have been able to use the Chamber as a kind of reference point to finding the appropriate support we need - whether that be IT, legal or website advice. Each business we have worked with has helped enable the logistical running of Climbing Out and that has all been achieved through the Chamber.

“Chamber Patron Chrisbeon has chosen us as its patron charity for the last few years and is a massive supporter of Climbing Out. We are incredibly grateful for that. Lanyon Bowdler refers quite a few people to our programmes and was instrumental in the provision of our virtual workshops through lockdown, and we are extremely grateful for all the other help and support we have received from so many businesses over the years..

“The Chamber has a family feel to it and is something really special to be part of. It means that when you go to businesses, whatever the need, you know you are working with people you can trust.”