The youth of Bellingen Shire now have a Bouldering Wall at their local Youth Hub thanks to the support of ETC, Council and local community organisations.
Bellingen Youth Hub Coordinator Dean Besley said the idea for the project came from three local young climbers who were keen to have something like this for the youth of area.
“I thought it was a stunning idea and we just happened to have a space that could make it come to life,” Mr Besley said.
“So we approached members of the community, asking what they thought. It was unanimous – they all said ‘do it, it is fantastic’. From there, we have received support from ETC, the Bellingen Youth Services, Bellingen Shire Council and Climbing Anchors to get this project off the ground.”
Bello Youth Hub Marketing Coordinator Maggie said she had not seen so much hype like this before in the area.
“The community response has been amazing. So many volunteers coming forward and generously donating their time, skills and money. It’s been really inspiring,” she said.
According to Mr Besley, Bouldering in 2020 would be in the Olympic Games.
“They say it’s going to be one of the fastest growing sports around. So the Primary and High Schools have got on board – they’re going to start doing sports here,” Mr Besley said.
“There’s even mentors coming out of the woodwork saying they’ll look after the young people and there’s a lot of adults who are pretty keen about this wall. We’re all about cultural change and further bridging the gap between adults and young people.”
Bellingen Shire Mayor Dominic King said the new venture would have great benefit for the whole community.
“It’s a great community driven project and we’re really excited about it. It gives the youth something else they can focus their energy on, plus a new activity for all the other residents who want to bring their families here,” Mr King said.
Local youth Bodie encouraged other young people to come down to the Bellingen Youth Hub to check it out.
“The climbing wall is pretty cool. I just had a go, it’s fun and I think heaps of kids will love it,” he said.
“I think it will be good to get people active so they’re not always on their phone and stuff. People come down here to the Youth Hub to use the Wi-Fi, but now they can climb some rocks.”
ETC’s Deputy Chair Lorraine Penn said it was a pleasure to be able to support the development of the Bouldering Wall.
“The ETC Community Support Fund is designed to help organisations reduce disadvantage, generate opportunity, increase support services and/or build capacity in the communities in which we operate,” Ms Penn said.
“ETC is proud to be a not-for-profit company and we are confident the money we are donating will help make a more positive future for our community.”