What We Do
Young people need our support now more than ever.
At Urban Uprising, we give disadvantaged young people the
opportunity to transform their futures.
Our unique climbing programme gives 8-18-year-olds who face various challenges in life the chance to develop their physical, social and personal strengths with the support and encouragement of highly-trained positive coaches.
We know there are barriers – both individual and societal – that prevent some young people from accessing and consistently engaging with new experiences. Urban Uprising’s vision is a society where all young people feel engaged and empowered to create a positive future for themselves.
In partnership with climbing centres and committed volunteer role models, we are here to support young people to address and overcome the individual root causes of the problem and become their own agents of change.
“Climbing is a hook that enables
disadvantaged young people to engage in something which is constructive, both mentally and physically challenging, fun and, above all, empowering. Many of the young people we work with wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to participate in this great sport.”
Stuart Green, Urban Uprising founder
Scaling walls, overcoming barriers.
Urban Uprising operates programmes in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Cambridge and Bristol; often working with young people from the most deprived areas.
These local areas have been identified through our own community mapping, consultation and government data for multiple deprivation indicators. This way we know we are operating where the need is greatest.
We collaborate with local youth organisations and schools who know the communities well and are able to identify the young people who are most in need.
“Our time working with urban uprising has been a real journey that the students will cherish. We started off with a group of young people that were introverted and anxious. Through the progress of the course we have seen distinct changes in the pupils’ attitude and mindsets.”
Sam, Teacher - Clarendon Academy
The issues these young people face are complex and varied. For example, they may be:
Identified as 'at risk' and headed to negative destinations
Affected by low physical activity levels
Struggling in school, with low educational attainment
Experiencing poor mental health
Living with autism, anxiety or ADHD
Disproportionately affected by health and social inequality
Negatively impacted by unemployment, addiction, crime
or traumatic life events.
Over and above these socio-economic challenges, many young people are also affected by issues such as negative stereotyping, the pressure of social media, and the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Together, we can set them up for a better future...
“One of the great problems with helping young people to help themselves is that they are often undervalued. So why would they value themselves? They are seen by
so many others in society as a problem. Actually they are an opportunity. When someone takes time to show them something good, it will have a positive effect on almost all. For a subset, it will change everything. That is worth supporting.” –
Dave MacLeod, pro climber and Urban
Our programme centres on personal development and life skills. Rock climbing can be daunting, and breaking through that barrier to try it for the first time, or to try new and harder climbs, is a real confidence builder.
The nature of climbing is that you are failing much more than you are succeeding, and the experience of not being able to get past a certain point - or falling off the wall entirely - is an important part of it. Building resilience to deal with this failure and understanding that failing is a learning opportunity (and nothing to be afraid of) is very empowering for the young people.
Through our sessions, young people can discover a sense of belonging to a new and different community with many positive role models. We know that our work can have a hugely positive impact on the mental health recovery of young people following the pandemic.
“The young people here have gained so much from their experience with [Urban Uprising]: new skills, confidence, resilience and a new motivation to try new and challenging activities.”
– Maggie, Manager, Lambhill Stables
Our programme has 3 main outcomes for the disadvantaged young people.
Through a six to 10-week structured indoor programme young people are taught how to climb safely and responsibly. Each weekly session is around 1.5 hours long, and - where resources and instructors are available - participants are invited to take part in a day of outdoor climbing at the end of the programme.
We tailor the programme slightly for each group to suit their age, maturity and other specific needs. We also consider any particular areas of focus our partner organisations have been working on with the young people to date.
'I've really enjoyed the new experience of climbing, the best things have been meeting new people and gaining confidence, I can't wait to come back'.
– Carson, participant
Alongside these main outcomes, our skilled volunteer coaches and climbing centre instructors focus on helping participants develop specific life skills.
These skills ‘themes’ go beyond the climbing wall and can help in all aspects of their life. There are three themes, and each covers a set of skills or qualities.
The young people will also be guided through an accredited award scheme for climbing competency: the National Indoor Climbing Award Scheme (NICAS). This gives them a focus for the physical and technical aspects of climbing, as well as earning a certificate at the end. There is a component of safety and managing risk within NICAS which helps a lot with building confidence.
Our ‘Repeat’ programme
Our ‘Repeat’ programme Award Scheme Following their six to 10-week Climb Programme, Glasgow and Edinburgh groups can now attend our weekly drop-in ‘Repeat’ sessions, at no cost to them. These Repeat sessions allow participants to continue to improve their climbing skills and build on the positive relationships they have developed with our volunteers and instructors. This has been a big step forward for us and allowed us to deepen our impact significantly for the young people who choose to keep going.