Happy new year to you all! It’s nice to see so many of you back in climbing and training hard for the season ahead.
2016 was yet another busy year for The Castle as we continue to grow and develop; striving to continuously improve the facilities for the benefit of you, the customer. In 2016 we increased our team of staff; welcoming our new CEO, Duncan Howard; a new Centre Manager, Lisa Farris; increased staff levels on the front-line and in both the Maintenance and HR departments to respond to the continuing demand and growth of the centre.
The focus of development in 2016 was two-fold:
1. Customer and community focused opportunities
We increased the number of products we have on offer for customers in response to the demand for more technique and coaching courses.
We have also been working hard to develop opportunities for people with disabilities to access the joys and benefits of climbing. In 2016 we have seen a positive increase in the number of people we work with physical or mental disabilities.
Our aim has always been to provide a place that the local community can also benefit from and in 2016 we increased the number of free community events we hold for local families and community-based organisations to enjoy.
2. Facility developments
With the increase in visitors our other focus was on providing investment for improving facilities that are under the most strain:
The café saw a huge amount of development; a new design layout meant the café staff has more space to work and improves the flow of customers; the new mezzanine floor provides us with lots of extra seating for people to relax in comfortable surroundings. Plus we have increased the number of chefs to cope with the demand for good, wholesome food.
The lead area in front of the café was one of the oldest walls in the centre and was in need of some attention. When we closed the café for development we decided this was a perfect time to redesign the lead walls. I hope you agree with us that the new design is light and bright, breathing new life into the area and offering great quality routes.
In order to keep delivering the level of service and facilities you expect from us, we review our prices annually. This year we decided that the entry and membership prices will remain the same and will not increase, which is great news for everyone!
You, the customers are very important to us here at The Castle. Without your continued support The Castle wouldn’t be able to continue developing year on year. Because of the increase in visitor numbers in the last year we feel we can continue to improve the facilities without putting up our prices.
2017 is all set to be yet another big year of change and improvements within the centre:
The female changing rooms are in desperate new of updating and a few months ago we asked our female customers for their feedback to feed into the new designs. These have now been drawn up and work will start on the re-development once the centre quietens down in spring.
As I type this we are in the process of building extra unisex changing facilities and showers on the level with the new lockers to cope with demand. These will be appropriated for use by the ladies whilst work goes ahead on the existing changing rooms.
A few times above I have mentioned the increase in visitors to the centre and the ways we’ve improved the centre to cope. We know that this is the biggest complaint we receive from you and this year we hope to address this further with the opening of next door (formerly The Pirates’ Playhouse). Work on the building is planned to start around March with a view to having it open to the public by autumn 2017.
So as you can see we have another exciting year of developments ahead and we hope that you’ll continue to be part of this amazing Castle community as we go from strength to strength.
We would like to thank you all for your continued support, loyalty and enthusiasm for all things climbing and we hope you all smash your projects this year, both indoors and outdoors!