We found our dream location for The Climbing Lab in late 2015 and were psyched to move into our beautiful warehouses 2 weeks before Christmas. The excitement only grew as we received deliveries of everything to build a climbing centre with – safety mats, 100s of wooden panels, steel for the support and 1000s of screws to hold it all together.
Our big build began briefly then stopped for the Christmas holidays. On Boxing Day we were interrupted off the sofa by a flood warning which turned out to be the biggest flood Leeds has ever seen during the wettest December this area has on record.
After hurrying to Kirkstall we desperately tried to lift our precious wooden panels and power tools high enough to avoid the rising water but after hours of stacking and re-stacking, everything was adrift. With flood water rising beyond waist height and our hearts heavy with defeat, we kicked our way out of a fire door held shut by the flood waters and escaped.
We had failed in the new venture we had dedicated our dreams and fortunes to. Days passed by with the river flowing directly through our would have been business. Nothing could be done. Eventually the water dropped low enough so we could enter. We saw the destruction. Everything water logged and covered in silt. Time to start work we thought!
We bought brooms and brushes and started sweeping out the silt that had settled everywhere. It seemed like an impossible task to achieve with our small team of family and friends. But then, something magical happened, people started to arrive. They came to help, 10s of them with kind hearts and keen bodies, ready to rescue us.
As the days passed we made a difference together; the community rescued us and thanks to the amazing people of Kirkstall, Leeds we were still able to open. We stand, doors open today, because of our brilliant, beautiful Lab community. Our aim is to create a sense of belonging for all who walk through our doors and to help people feel inspired and supported to grow in our centre.