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Supporting Climbing Walls Through The Pandemic (Read 981 times)

danm

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With the closure of walls across the country in response to the Covid-19 crisis, the future of many individuals and businesses operating in the indoor climbing sector is at risk. Government help will of course be necessary, but is there anything we can do as a community to support our brethren?

The answer is yes! If you have a secure income (and I'm aware of and fully sympathise with the many who do not) then you can continue to pay your annual membership by direct debit. You can even take one out if you don't currently have one. Many walls have frozen membership payments for existing customers, if so maybe get in touch and say you're happy to carry on paying.

The BMC are getting something together to go out on social media to encourage support for walls, instructors and outdoor retail, so we hopefully have something left at the end of this. There are also crowdfunders and IG accounts set up to help fundraise: https://www.instagram.com/saveourclimbingwallscommunity/?hl=en

So do what you can, and maybe the wall be open again in due course and we can all get to flex in front of punters again!

Oldmanmatt

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One of our school users, who had two session a week with us, yesterday paid the entire invoice, despite only receiving half their allotted sessions. Without being asked.
Enough to pay the staff for a month (well, nearly).

I’m a bit humbled.

Offwidth

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One of our school users, who had two session a week with us, yesterday paid the entire invoice, despite only receiving half their allotted sessions. Without being asked.
Enough to pay the staff for a month (well, nearly).

I’m a bit humbled.

It works both ways... I'm also humbled by the generosity of some but giving also increases the chances of being able to climb and train indoors again when this is all over. 

gme

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I would have thought walls will fall under a lot of the government funding thats available, Job retention scheme, VAT and income tax holidays, business rates holiday, small business grant of 10k for small business or 25grand for bit bigger ones.Plus business interuption loans.

I would assume that a walls biggest running expenses were staff (covered), insurance (could be holidayed for the period) and rates (covered). Maybe i am wrong.

Oldmanmatt

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I would have thought walls will fall under a lot of the government funding thats available, Job retention scheme, VAT and income tax holidays, business rates holiday, small business grant of 10k for small business or 25grand for bit bigger ones.Plus business interuption loans.

I would assume that a walls biggest running expenses were staff (covered), insurance (could be holidayed for the period) and rates (covered). Maybe i am wrong.

Well, our biggest single cost, aside from wages, is rent.
Utilities next.
And a multitude of other things. At this point, there has been very little cooperation from lenders and insurers etc.

You are correct, if the government’s promises come to fruition, it will probably save us, as long as we’re in the sub 5 months of closure.
But, we’re lucky enough to be relatively debt free, those with larger initial financing are having so issues with lenders, I hear.

Actually the 10k grant, wouldn’t even cover the bare costs of five weeks shutdown for a small wall like ours.

I am not worried about our operation. Not yet, or not anymore, if you like.

But that’s also because the week before all this blew up, we did some rapid refinancing and deferred first repayments for three months and knocked it down to a fixed fee instead of interest etc etc.

I know others who are in more precarious position.

« Last Edit: March 25, 2020, 02:29:38 pm by Oldmanmatt »


danm

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I would have thought walls will fall under a lot of the government funding thats available, Job retention scheme, VAT and income tax holidays, business rates holiday, small business grant of 10k for small business or 25grand for bit bigger ones.Plus business interuption loans.

I would assume that a walls biggest running expenses were staff (covered), insurance (could be holidayed for the period) and rates (covered). Maybe i am wrong.

All true as I think I alluded to in my OP. A few memberships aren't going to keep an entire business going! However, most walls use a lot of casual labour such as coaches and setters, and given the uncertainty over the help the self employed will get, anything which helps walls pay their invoices will help. Also remember, these self employed people don't know when their next paycheck will be, getting this one paid will at least keep the wolf from the door. In addition, memberships ticking over will help a bit with the immediate cashflow problem which even substantial Gov intervention can't fix immediately.

I guess with many friends working in the industry, I see this as part and parcel of our community and would like to help out. Others might see things differently and just think, hey, that's business.  Both are fair positions to take, but good to outline the options I think.

gme

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I am not suggesting not supporting them just pointing out other options. All i have been looking at for days is this stuff.

I am sure that there will be support for self employed people of some sort in the next few days. The question as to whether a lot of these people should have been classed as self employed is for another time.

danm

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Right, if that's the impression I gave, then apologies. Just got this through via Sport England today, useful info including some stuff about self employed people:

https://www.sportandrecreation.org.uk/news/politics/covid-19-business-support-measures-faqs

I still think keeping membership going will possibly help with immediate cashflow issues. I like the idea of expressing some solidarity as well, people are under a lot of mental stress right now.

gme

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I think a voucher scheme would get a good take up. pay now and use them next winter kind of thing.

Bit like borrowing the money but without any interest.

danm

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That's a damn good idea tbf.

teestub

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I think several of the walls are promising along these lines: pay for your annual passes or keep your dd going but the months won’t ‘count’ until they are reopen.

gme

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I dont go to a wall enough to warrent an annual pass though, but would buy a book of 10-15 passes.

teestub

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Depots do ‘stamp cards’ which is exactly what you’re talking about, not sure how many other walls do similar

TobyD

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Depots do ‘stamp cards’ which is exactly what you’re talking about, not sure how many other walls do similar

The works does for one.

Some walls may have online shops you can buy from, I contacted the foundry but theirs is closed for the duration of the crisis.

Murph

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I paid for a year at the works in advance about a month ago - when I rejoined powerclub. I wouldn't dream of asking for a refund.

There is going to have to be something on a large scale about debt and rent over the coming months. If you were on the lending side of the deal then you should be required to take one for the team. The alternative is hardly worth considering. We are not talking about just Woolworths closing down this time.

mrjonathanr

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Depots do ‘stamp cards’ which is exactly what you’re talking about, not sure how many other walls do similar

Lots I think. I bought a 10 climb pass from my local wall, there's 9 left. Glad they have the dough tbh

tomtom

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There are also some walls (I shall not mention names) that treat their staff like shit - and I will not shed a tear for their closure.

There are also some walls that are like families - and if they cannot weather this storm and go under that will be very sad.

TobyD

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There are also some walls that are like families - and if they cannot weather this storm and go under that will be very sad.

Yes, but some considerable distance from being even close to the majority of the harm that this is going to do. The country feels pretty surreal at the moment, lockdown is still a slight novelty and the hospital situation hasn't really started to get really bad outside London. Climbing walls are in many cases more than a training venue, with their own communities and atmospheres, but if we get even close to the Italian situation, the loss of any business would hardly figure.

tomtom

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Re: setters/freelancers - the arts council is doing this for artists:

https://www.artscouncil.org.uk/covid-19/financial-support-artists-creative-practitioners-and-freelancers

A nice model. If climbing (sport??) had a govt funded agency......?

SA Chris

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I dont go to a wall enough to warrent an annual pass though, but would buy a book of 10-15 passes.

I just bought a ten pack from the local wall about a month ago, which is good for a year. I'd happily buy another one right now, but I think they've completely shut up shop, no access to card machines etc.

 

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