Overview of 2018 from CEO Graham Atkins

We’ve made great progress over the past 12 months; over the next twelve we’re going even further to ensure that we support members to promote the professionalism, growth and health of indoor climbing.

My reason for writing now is to share our plans for the coming financial year (from April 2018) that have just been signed off by the Management Committee.  This is the conclusion of a substantial piece of business planning – our first ever – that connects member views with our offer, strategy and finances.

The annual conference & AGM

Bigger and even better than last year, this will take place in Sheffield on 5th and 6th of July.  Hopefully, most of you will appreciate a shorter journey!

One Day Seminars

Three seminars aimed at wall owners and managers exploring topical safety and professional issues. This will include a session in April on implementing GDPR in climbing walls.


Shared with members, this will include mining the Accident Reporting Database and repeat the market research conducted last year to add context, spot trends and solidify our position as an authority on all things indoor climbing.


We will continue to act on behalf of the industry, where it makes sense to do so.  This could be in responding to consultations (as we have done with AALA), working with partners such as the BMC, MT & ABCTT to coordinate sector activity, or lobbying national bodies to raise the profile of indoor climbing.

Marketing activity to increase participation and retention

This has two parts, working with a Digital Marketing and Social Media specialist to build our presence, and secondly the design and delivery of a National Indoor Climbing Week.  This has the potential to be a really exciting series of events celebrating all that is good about our sport – watch this space for further details.

Offer for Individual Climbers

To further boost participation and retention, we plan to launch an offer for individual indoor climbers centred on a national competency card  – like they have in the Nordic countries – with supporting infrastructure and benefits of community

Further development of the ABC organisation

Through the continued reform of our governance, we will ensure that we are compliant with UK law and adopt best practice in sporting governance.  We are also working to secure increased external funding from organisations such as Sport England and commercial partners, which will minimise the impact on membership fees from this increased level of activity.

To deliver these projects at a scale that is right for our members and our industry we will need to raise our membership fees slightly, but we will make it much, much, easier to pay using monthly direct debits.  This will smooth the payment and renewals process substantially, which I know has been a source of frustration for some.  Ben Ingle, our Head of Membership services will be in touch with more on this soon.

Indoor climbing must surely be one of the fastest growing, exciting and interesting industries in the UK right now. 

It is rapidly evolving, and the projects above are targeted to make the most of your membership of the Association and support you in this period of great change.  If you would like to get involved in any of these projects, just let me know.  After all, the bulk of ABC work is still done by volunteers, including the Management Committee who act on your behalf.

You can reach Graham by email at Graham@abcwalls.co.uk