We all have a story of discovering the outdoors.
By ‘discovery’, we mean that moment when you realise that this is what life is about - going outside, exploring, and seeing the world from new perspectives.
For many of us, this moment happens at university: we arrive as freshers - bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and looking for an opportunity to make friends. We head along to the mountaineering club because we've tried climbing a few times before, we think that it might be a laugh, and, well, why not? The rest is history…
You may have heard that, here at the Alpkit Foundation, we're all about helping people to go nice places and do good things, so when we heard that the University of Birmingham Mountaineering Society were in need of some support to do just that, we jumped at the chance to help them out.
Committee volunteers learning vital skills for leading climbing and mountaineering trips
The UMBC has been bringing students into the climbing and mountaineering world since 1932. With over 80 years of climbing tradition to its name (over the course of which they've somehow acquired the nickname 'Stoats', although we're not 100% sure why) the club continues to spread the word about climbing and mountaineering, running accessible trips and instructing newcomers to the sport, all in the name of welcoming as many people as possible into the climbing community and having a jolly good time whilst they're at it. These sessions and trips are led on a voluntary basis by more experienced members of the club.
To lead climbing trips, the committee volunteers must complete a number of courses.
Of course, it's not quite so simple as just setting a day and going off on an adventure. With a membership of 142 students, the committee of volunteers must ensure that all of their instructors have completed their Ropeworks Course, Single Pitch Award, and an Outdoor First Aid Course before they can be left in charge of a gaggle of beginners.
However, this year the UBMC lost the funding vital to their training; treasurer Fergal Marrett explains the consequences of this cut:
We thought our club committee would have to downsize meaning membership numbers be cut in the interests of safety
Fortunately the Alpkit Foundation has prevented this by funding the training cost of one committee member. The University Birmingham Mountaineering Club continues to run successfully and will continue do so.
We look forward to seeing the University of Birmingham ‘Stoats’ out and about in the outdoors!
The Alpkit Foundation supports projects that enable people to overcome the obstacles preventing them from Going Nice Places and Doing Good Things.