So I put myself in the firing line yesterday with an open feedback session about all things Castle-related. I really appreciated being able to discuss the points raised in a constructive way. I felt that, on the whole, it was pretty productive. There were some good ideas that came out of it, which we’ll be implementing over the next few months. In fact, I thought it was so worthwhile that I’m going to do it again. So if you have something to say, make sure that you stop by on Thursday the 21st of May from 6pm to 9pm. I’ll also be at the Big Dig in the Garden on Saturday the 22nd of March.
Generally, you all had really nice things to say about the centre. You like the new developments, you think the café is great and you’ve had good interactions with our staff. So that was very encouraging to hear.
The recurring concern was about how busy we are. We have put in place a number of measures to help manage this such as the self check-in system for prepaid members, the larger men’s changing rooms, new locker area, longer opening hours on weekends (we now open at 9am) and more climbing areas. We’ve also increased our floorwalking staff during peak times. We do know that January is particularly busy, but things are quieting down- I didn’t think it was too busy last night.
One really good suggestion was to publicise when our busiest/quietest periods are so that people can plan their visits accordingly. I’m going to work on a nice way of displaying that information on our website and in the centre.
A knock-on effect of us being busy is that there are some climbers and boulderers who don’t know or don’t respect etiquette/safety measures, particularly in the bouldering and lead areas. The two main issues are people standing/sitting/walking in fall zones in the bouldering areas and lead climbers entering the fall zones of the climbers above them. We’re going to work on a campaign to inform climbers about what’s expected of them. This will include signs, blogs as well as more intervention on the night by our Duty Managers. If you do see any behaviour that needs to be corrected, please tell the Duty Manager straightaway so that we can do something about it.
We’ve also posted when new bouldering areas are being reset as these are often extremely busy in the first few days after the set. Believe me, I know it’s tempting to jump on the clean, new problems, but there is a new area set each week so you won’t be missing out by waiting a few days. Or maybe you can come during our quieter periods.
Last night was also a chance to talk about the next phases of development. This includes more climbing (yay!) in Wells 3 and 4, more autobelays, more top-roping downstairs, a mezzanine level to increase seating in the Café and a larger Reception area. While we’re talking about developments, you may have noticed that the bike park in the back of the building is still open. At this time, you can still park your bike either out front in the new bike park (that’s where I lock mine up) or out back. We are working on getting better lighting for the new bike park- this should be happening very soon.
So, if you can, come and say hello on the 21st of May. If you can’t make it, but would like to send us your feedback you can either use the feedback forms in the centre or one of our feedback emails: