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Indoor climbing company reveals expansion plans for second Cardiff site


A popular indoor climbing company has opened its second site, an 8,000 sq ft specialist bouldering centre in Cheltenham.

Boulders Limited has used a £238,500 funding package from NatWest to transform the unit on Centrum Park into an indoor bouldering centre.

After six-months of renovations, the space now features custom-built bouldering surfaces across the ground and mezzanine floor, suitable for all ages and climbing abilities. The facility also offers group sessions of varying sizes, as well as one-to-one lessons.

Following the launch of Boulders Cheltenham, Ollie and the team are continuing to work on opening a Cardiff West site despite the coronavirus set back. They have found a fantastic site and are working with the landowner to ensure they can bring a second world class facility to Cardiff.

Avid climber Ollie Noakes co-founded Boulders in 2008, opening the first site at St. Catherine’s Park in Cardiff, which now has nearly 40 full and part-time staff. The 15,000 sq ft centre has both roped climbing walls and an expanding bouldering area, as well as a training area, café and shop.

The Cardiff centre was forced to close on the 20th March due to the coronavirus pandemic but has since secured CBILS funding from NatWest and a grant from the Welsh Government Economic Resilience Fund to safeguard the future of the business.

Throughout lockdown, Boulders also launched an online climbing store and has run takeaway pizza nights using its café facilities and hosted virtual climbing-related quiz nights.

Additional social distancing and health and safety measures have been put in place to ensure the protection of climbers, including hand washing stations on arrival, reduced numbers on site at any one-time, pre-booked time slots, enhanced cleaning procedures and temperature checks on arrival.

Director Ollie Noakes said: “We have been waiting for the government’s go-ahead to open Boulders Cheltenham and the day has finally come that we can open our doors and welcome climbers safely into our fantastic bouldering space. Our focus has always been on making climbing as inclusive and accessible as possible, and as we expand our footprint, we hope to introduce even more people to the sport. The support from our climbers during the current pandemic is testament to what a tight-knit community climbing can create.

“Our NatWest relationship manager Matt has been brilliant at advising us and signposting us to the support available. The initial NatWest funding helped us open our second centre and the CBILS loan has helped us get through the uncertainty of the last 12 weeks. We look forward to welcoming climbers of all abilities and ages to Boulders Cheltenham.”

Matt Maunder, NatWest Relationship Manager, said: “Ollie and the team are hugely passionate and that is evident in the success of the Cardiff East centre and something that they will replicate in Cheltenham. We are proud to have supported Boulders both through the pandemic and with its next stage of growth.”