JUST A CLIMBING WALL
Welcome to The Ledge
The Highlands largest climbing gym and a National Bouldering and Performance Centre built on the foundations of community, inclusivity and positivity.
More than just a climbing wall, The Ledge is a registered Scottish charity dedicated to changing lives for the better via the medium of climbing.
Our mission is to build a welcoming and inclusive community at The Ledge that can inspire positive social change via the medium of climbing.
How did The Ledge Charity come about?
In 2015 sportscotland approved Mountaineering Scotland’s National Facilities Plan which identified the need for a major indoor climbing facility in the North of Scotland.
The Ledge Charity was formed in June 2017 to build and operate The Ledge Climbing Gym as a force for good in the communities of the North of Scotland.
The idea was that The Ledge would be a climbing wall with a superpower – ie an awesome indoor wall that would a) fill the identified facilities gap and then b) use its operational surplus to support the local community and deliver charitable ambitions.
After many years of fundraising and a couple of false starts, (hello Covid and friends!) The Ledge secured the tenancy of a large building within the City of Inverness in late 2021.
Supported by funding from sportscotland, HIE, Highland Council and other key funders, the team eventually found a suitable building for the project.
The Ledge Climbing Gym & Charity is located on the boundary of the Merkinch area of Inverness, rated in the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) as the 8th most deprived housing area in the whole of Scotland.
We live in a complex modern world where pace and pressure can cloud our judgment and understanding of who we are, where we are, and where we want to go.
Finding a sport/activity that lights you up has the potential to change everything. Being shown that there is a ‘different way’ to approach life, either through a practical experience, mentoring or a journey of self-discovery, can be a life-altering revelation.
Climbing helps build confidence, teamwork, and resilience. It helps develop diverse skill sets, improves focus, and increases co-ordination. On top of all that, it’s a whole heap of fun!
Our facility and related activities provide a therapeutic learning environment where we will run a series of ‘Vertical Living’ social impact programmes – aka classes, courses, and long-term mentored projects – designed to guide people towards more positive outcomes.
These ‘Vertical Living’ programmes will use climbing, indoor and outdoor activity, movement and green/blue space work to provide life skills, training, and opportunities to those facing mental, physical, and environmental challenges.
The Ledge aims to support youth at risk and other vulnerable groups in the community with the necessary tools to expand their horizons, reach higher ground, help others, and achieve more than they thought possible.
How will we do it?
Our activities will be delivered in a managed environment supported by committed, experienced, and supportive staff and volunteers alongside solid partnerships with third sector and community organisations.
Who will deliver our “Vertical Living” social impact programmes?
The Ledge’s social impact programmes will be delivered across a variety of platforms including mentoring, supported access for schools for clubs and special needs groups, vocational skills, and community initiatives.
Our Social Impact Statement
At The Ledge, we are not trying to make lots of new climbers, but instead, use our facility and related activities to create a therapeutic learning environment by developing and running a series of classes, courses, and long-term mentored projects, which will guide people towards more positive outcomes.
This ambition is encapsulated under the title of ‘vertical living’ where we will use climbing, indoor and outdoor activity, movement, and green/blue space work, as a tool to aid people to reach higher ground.
Our social impact programs, under the general heading of ‘vertical living’ will principally be targeted towards:
• Supporting young people most at risk of being involved in antisocial behaviour, offending or reoffending, towards or into positive destinations.
• Providing person-centred support for young people, parents, and families impacted by adverse childhood experiences and trauma.
• Supporting young people and adults to improve their health, mental health, life skills, and wellbeing.
• Supporting environmental education as it relates to outdoor sports and activity.
These four principal aims, our ‘social impact’, are supported by running The Ledge Climbing Gym, a climbing and adventure sports gym situated at Unit 2, Telford Street Retail Park, Inverness, Highland, Scotland.
Our Committed Supporters
We are very grateful to Sportscotland, Highland Council, The SSE Sustainable Fund, The Robertson Trust, HIE, and RBS for all of their support.
The Ledge Founder and CEO Duncan McCallum was introduced to climbing when he was 13yrs old by Steve Clouston – a much-loved gym teacher at Dingwall Academy – who gave up his personal time at the weekends to take a scruffy bunch of kids hill-walking and rock climbing in the Scottish Highlands.
“I obviously didn’t appreciate it at the time but looking back I can see that the day he took us climbing on a small sea cliff near Kyle of Lochalsh changed my life. A door to a whole new world genuinely opened up for me – it was a real watershed moment.
Climbing was totally new to me. Yes it was scary but it was also exciting and it gave me confidence. It lifted a rather lost and isolated teenager upwards and into a whole new world of friends, adventures, and travel.
Since then I have been lucky to have climbed, snowboarded, and biked all over the world, and in the process have become a more confident, capable, and rounded person (there is still room for improvement!).
Knowing what I have personally gained from climbing (the friendships, a sense of belonging, a career, self-confidence, direction and so, so many opportunities!), I wanted to build a hub of climbing and community here in the Highlands that could give others the opportunity to explore this incredible activity.
The journey to opening has been long and fraught with challenges but finally we are here – so now the work can really begin!
Whether you’re a first-time climber or a lifelong rock lover, myself and my team can’t wait to welcome you at The Ledge.
Thanks to all who have supported the journey thus far.
Signature Duncan McCallum
CEO, The Ledge Climbing Gym and Charity
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