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Who’s who? The 2022 committee

So who’s running this thing anyway?

Our volunteer committee of course! Here are our founding members, who helped set up the club and run things on a day-to-day basis. We’ve asked each of them to write a few words about who they are and what they do.

The committee will be democratically elected by the membership every year, in our AGM in November.

Mike (he/him), Chair

I have been climbing on and off for 20ish years – indoors and out – and I am a qualified SPA (RCI) instructor. When I struggled to find friends who I felt comfortable to climb with I thought why not create a group to find them? And the club was born! My role as Chair is the overall shaping and organising of the club and supporting the committee and members to keep the club moving forward. Thank you to you all for helping me make this such a lovely club!

Josh (he/him), Club Secretary

I’ve been climbing socially for around 5 years, but it really kicked up a gear when Mike and I started climbing outdoors between lockdowns in 2020.
I remember, when I first moved to Exeter, joining an LGBT community group made a huge difference in helping me feel proud of my sexuality, and feel at home in Devon. I really hope that the club, as well as introducing people to our brilliant sport, might do the same for others.
I organise committee meetings and take minutes, and look after the club’s website, email, and data.

Char (they/them), New Members’ Officer

Charlie is a South West based outdoor educator who has worked as a climbing wall instructor (CWI) and currently works as an outdoor educator for a young people’s charity. They are passionate about climbing, coaching people through fear, and growing the climbing community.
Char works to make the club a welcoming place for newcomers, and encourage everyone to be the best climbers they can.

Simon (he/him), Treasurer

I’ve been climbing for 4 years and got involved with the club in late 2021.
It’s my job to keep track of the club’s bank account/money; ensuring that people are up to date with membership payments, and monitoring money spent on equipment etc.

Kieran (he/him), Training and Equipment Officer

Kieran works as a professional rock climbing instructor (RCI) and can smash the toughest climb with the crimpiest holds, all with a smile on his face.
He works on identifying the kit we need, looking after it (once we have it) and keeping an eye on training opportunities for the committee and club members.

And you?

It takes a lot of different skills to run a club, and there’s always a chance to get involved. If you’d like to help, talk to a member of the committee. We could find specific tasks for you to help with, offer you a place on the committee as a non-voting member – or you could even stand for election.

The committee are also particularly grateful for the advice and suggestions given by Jack, and for funding bid writing support from Adam.

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Why do we want to affiliate the club with the BMC?

For the last few months, we’ve been talking about affiliating the club with the BMC. We’re now getting ready to submit our application to the BMC and, as part of this, we’re asking everyone to fill in a membership form and make a small annual payment to the club.

We know it’s a change, and we know that climbing is expensive enough without being asked to pay for something that was previously free! I just wanted to quickly run through why we’re doing this, what the benefits for the club are, and what it all means for the future of our friendly group.

Who are the BMC and what does affiliating the club with them mean?

The BMC (British Mountaineering Council) are the official body for hillwalking, climbing and mountaineering. They work hard to support climbers and raise the profile of climbing in the UK and are well regarded for their work.

Club insurance

By the far the most significant benefit for the club, but also the least “sexy”: affiliating with the BMC means we are all covered by the BMC’s specialist combined liability insurance.

The insurance includes public liability cover, which protects everyone in the club from being sued for negligence. Climbing comes with significant risks of property damage, personal injury and death – both to ourselves as members (eg in an awkward fall, or if a belayer doesn’t catch) and to others (eg falling on another person, dropping something or dislodging loose rock onto somebody below).

We hope it never happens, but if somebody is badly injured and sues, we’re all protected up to £15m of liability. It also means, by suing, there’s a way for an injured person to get financial compensation, which we’d never be able to provide directly.

This is the sort of situation that can happen (sorry for the Daily Mail link):
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10164325/Medical-student-paralysed-waist-climbing-accident-sues-climbing-partner.html

This sort of accident could happen to any of us, whether we’re giving somebody advice or beta on a route, belaying, or climbing – and it starts to get a little bit more likely as the club grows and we bring in more new members and start doing more things.

Also, the owners of some outdoor crags require you to have insurance before going on their land (eg Chudleigh) – we’d really like to run some outdoor trips in the Summer, so we need to be covered in order to do this.
The good news is, once we’re affiliated, the insurance also covers every member for any climbing they do personally too, not just in club meets.

Further details from Howden’s, the BMC’s insurer.

Training

The BMC run training courses – some free, and some paid for – to help the committee run the club, and to help us all become better climbers. These include weekend-long “How to train novice members in your club“and other courses on first aid, rescue, and scrambling and climbing skills available to all members.

Affiliating benefits the club by giving us access to the BMC’s experience and guidance, in matters like governence, liability, and safeguarding.

Discounts

Everyone in the club gets BMC discounts at well-known outdoors shops like Cotswold Outdoor, Rohan, Taunton Leisure, and hundreds of other discounts.

Once we’re affiliated, you can also choose to upgrade to Individual BMC Membership at a discounted rate (meaning it’s actually cheaper to join the club and upgrade to Individual BMC Membership, than to just become an Individual BMC member outright!).

We’ve also snagged extra discounts specifically for our members: concessionary admission to Plymouth Life Centre, free gear hire at the Quay Climbing Centre for new climbers, discounted leggings from Funky Fitness (ask the committee for the code), and a special 20% off voucher from Taunton Leisure for new members.

Visibility and influence

Affiliating helps raise our profile and makes us an “official”, visible part of the climbing scene – I don’t know about you, but I loved climbing as soon as I tried it, but I could never have imagined feeling comfortable in a straight climbing group. I think it’s really important that there are groups like ours, to create a safe space for queer people in the sport, and to really drive inclusivity forward.

Supporting the sport

By affiliating with the BMC, we’re supporting the good work they do for all climbers, including their access and conservation work and equipment failure investigations.

Why do we have to pay, and where does the money go?

The BMC charge an annual fee – currently £20.25 per member, rising slightly to £21 for 2023 – to cover the cost of affiliation.

This is exactly the same as the amount we’re asking everyone to pay! We’re asking everyone to pay the bare minimum and don’t intend to make any surplus.

What does this mean for the future of club?

We know registering and paying to formally join a climbing club could feel like a big change. Don’t panic, there are no plans to radically change the club!

We’re still the same friendly people, and want to keep the same friendly, welcoming atmosphere we’ve always had. There’s no plans to change how any of our sessions are run.

We also don’t want to exclude anybody. We’ll keep running Beginners’ Nights, and new members can try the club (and be covered by our insurance) for free up to 3 months without needing to pay – more than enough time to get a feel for climbing, learn new skills, get to know people in the club.

All in all, all the good bits of the club will still be here, but with some great benefits, and with the insurance protection for us to do even more.

What do I need to do?

We’re asking everyone who’s been climbing with the group to take a quick look at our club rules, fill in a membership form, and pay a £20.25 membership fee by bank transfer (you’ll be sent a reminder of the bank account details after filling in the form).

Membership renews every year, so in the new year (January 2023), we’ll ask everybody to pay for the year ahead.

That’s all there is to it!

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Why start an LGBTQ+ Club? – BMC webinar

On Wednesday the 2nd of March Mike Phillips (chairperson LGBTQ CC), Char Harrison (New members officer LGBTQ CC) and Robert Dufton (founding member of Not So Trad) ran a webinar as a part of the British Mountaineering Council’s (BMC) Equity Webinar series 2022.  This webinar looked at what it means to be LGBTQ+, why an LGBTQ+ climbing club is a positive place and some hints and tips on setting up an LGBTQ+ Climbing Club.

This was an amazing experience to be able to discuss why we started our climbing clubs and how these have had a transformative approach for our members. It was also a fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of LGBTQ+ climbers, the challenges they still face and how clubs and organisations can make simple changes to make a big change.

This was a well-attended webinar with 23 people taking part including staff from our local climbing walls The Quay Climbing Centre and the Hanger Plymouth and Exeter. All people who attended seemed to find the webinar useful and this has opened up conversations locally for us as a club.

If you would Like to watch the webinar or look at the slides please see below.  

recording of presentation with audio and CC

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Thursday nights at Plymouth Life Centre: now every week!

We’ve had lots of people get in touch about more sessions in Plymouth and we were really delighted in the level of interest for our session at the Life Centre last Thursday.

So… Brilliant news… We’re going to do it every week, starting this week!

See you every Thursday for roped climbing at Plymouth Life Centre, 7pm-10pm.

The centre have kindly offered us a concessionary rate, so entry is only £6 each – just mention the LGBT Climbing Club when you arrive. Shoes, harnesses and belay devices are available to hire for a small amount extra.

Beginners’ Nights will also be coming to Plymouth on the first Thursday of the month.

Kieran will be running the sessions in Plymouth, with Mike running the sessions in Exeter.

If you’d like to climb with us or have any questions, drop us a line on hello@climb.lgbt, post in the Facebook group or message us on Instagram.

See you there!

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Quay Climing Centre route setting schedule – updated for Feb

January
February