Earlier this year, The North Face announced that it would be committing €1 million of support, to help outdoor communities around the world. The North Face describes its purpose as "leading the world forward through exploration" and hopes to continue this purpose through the Explore Fund: supporting communities that enable exploration everyday, but are facing closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Their call for applicants was certainly answered. The North Face said, "We were overwhelmed by the response to our announcement, with outdoor groups, businesses and charities all reaching out to us with a desire to drive exploration. With so many excellent and varied organizations applying, the decision who to partner with was incredibly challenging. However over the coming weeks we are proud to begin telling some of our chosen partners stories."
One such successful organisation is Urban Uprising, in the UK, who bring together a community around climbing. Urban Uprising is a non-profit, which uses rock climbing as a tool to elevate and inspire disadvantaged young people. They help young people to develop trust and learn new skills through climbing.
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Urban Uprising's team of trustees and volunteers run three levels of ‘engagement’ through its programmes: Taste, Climb, Repeat. The first introduces climbing and breaking down barriers to the sport. Next, they move on to helping young people to learn the different techniques required to climb and the heavy focus on problem solving. Finally, a weekly drop in sessions allow a love for climbing to blossom.
It’s a sport that Urban Uprising’s programme manager Ben Campbell feels has much to offer. “Climbing is a tool to develop life skills, things like building confidence, resilience and more obviously physical health, which is tied to mental health,” explains Ben. Urban Uprising was forced to close its doors and halt the outreach programmes earlier this year due to the COVID-19 outbreak. The North Face Explore Fund is support them to get back on their feet and get climbers back onto the wall. Better still, with the Explore Fund support they are now looking to partner with new climbing groups across the UK, including in Aberdeen, Bristol and Cambridge.
This is just one story of the many organisation that The North Face is supporting. You can read more about The North Face Explore Fund and their work with Urban Uprising on their website.
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An adventure writer based on Dartmoor, England, Emily is an active member of Mountain Rescue and a summer Mountain Leader, but loves all things adventure – before her third birthday she had lived on three continents. Founder of Intrepid magazine, she works to help break stereotypes about women in the outdoors. Her expeditions have included walking all Dartmoor’s 119 tors in a single two-week outing, cycling to Switzerland and back, and riding the Rhine from source to sea.