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New GDPR policy

April 30th, 2018

GDPR Policy and consideration

The new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR), which come into force on 25 May 2018, will strengthen an individual’s data protection rights, ensuring that those using their information will do so with care and consideration of the potential risks, whilst having safeguards in place to protect the individual.
It will achieve this by giving individuals greater control over their personal and sensitive information, introducing stricter rules for gathering and storing sensitive data, as well as increasing the powers of national regulators, such as The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

At iDID Adventure we want our participants and volunteers to be confident in the way in which their information is used, taking the security of their personal data and the implementation of these new rights seriously. We currently access personal data to respond to queries and provide services and manage volunteer relations. 

Access to your information is limited to ourselves but there are occasions when we need to disclose your details to others.  When we need to do this, we do it:

•    Where it is in our legitimate interests to do so i.e. to carry out customer research to help us improve our service
•    When we are legally obliged to, i.e. credit checks
•    Or when relevant with your prior consent

We may also share your information with emergency services and local authorities with regards to any safeguarding issues that might arise. As a result of new regulations volunteers, staff and participants will have the right to:

•    Be informed of the data held
•    Withdraw consent for their data to be used
•    Amend their dataRestrict processing in limited circumstances i.e where the data is inaccurate
•    Request for their data to be deleted, known as the ‘right to be forgotten’
•    Give explicit consent for their data to be processed by ticking an ‘opt-in box’
•    Provide parental consent before using their child’s data

To ensure confidence in our use of data, we will:

•    Enhance our security measures to protect your personal and sensitive data
•    Regularly review our policies and procedures to ensure they are robust and evolve accordingly
•    Provide regular and ongoing training in data protection for our staff to ensure they understand their duties and responsibilities
•    Ensure data breaches will be actioned swiftly and in a fully transparent manner, notifying those affected and the appropriate authorities accordingly.

Categories:   iDID Adventure  

Posted By:  iDID Adventure

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Welcome to the team Lucy

September 13th, 2017

We are delighted to welcome our newest team member!

Lucy Somers is the Programme Coordinator for iDID Adventure and will be coordinating both our Climbing Minds programme and the Inclusive Climbing Club.

With a background in New Business Development, Sales and Marketing, she took a career break to raise her son before retraining in Bookkeeping on her return to work.

Lucy has gained a wealth of experience as a Bookkeeper and a PA, as well as, working with children and young people through her roles with local charities and organisations.

With a passion for continuous learning, Lucy has studied both Biological Science and Bioethics & Medical Law for her Degree and Masters retrospectively and is currently studying Level 3 British Sign Language in addition to volunteering with a local deaf charity. 

Her enthusiasm for fundraising keeps her involved with several charities and she is always looking for the next opportunity to raise money.

Lucy has a love of hiking, travelling and anything adrenaline related and when she isn't studying, she will usually be planning her next adventure or trip away. If it involves heights, speed or an element of danger then it will usually be something she's interested in. 


She can be contacted at


Categories:   iDID Adventure  

Posted By:  iDID Adventure

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iDID Launches New Female Empowerment Project

August 22nd, 2017

We are so excited to be piloting our new Krush Programmes, a series of projects to empower young women aged 14-18 years using wakeboarding as a tool to promote positive body image, increase self-worth and improve confidence.

Wakeboarding is an exciting watersport that is much like snowboarding but on water. The rider is attached to a board and pulled along the water by a cable system. Our Krush projects will be delivered at Club Wake Park on the Grendon Lakes site and facilitated by positive female role models.

The Krush Project is funded by the Northamptonshire Community Foundation and is split into two programmes, Krush It and Krush Klub.

Why Krush?

Young women are particularly at-risk as teenage girls today face a massive amount of pressures including: Stress at school, body image worries, early sexualisation, bullying on and offline and uncertainty about the future after school. A recent study by the Department of Education has shown a worrying rise in mental health problems among teenagers girls with more than one in three teen girls suffering from anxiety or depression, a 10% increase in the last decade. Out of the girls surveyed, 37% had three or more symptoms of psychological distress, for example feeling worthless  or unable to concentrate, compared to 15% of boys.

Krush It is a 6 week fully funded referral based programme working with CAHMS and youth services in Northamptonshire to support young women affected by, or at risk of, mental health issues and low well-being. Referrals will also be considered for siblings and parents/caregivers if it benefits the young person.

Start Date: Tuesday 29th August, 6-8pm

Cost: Free

Krush Klub is open to ALL females aged 14-25 years of age and is a subsidised 6 week course to learn how to wakeboard in an inclusive and social environment. The course is reduced by over half price to just £60.

Start Date: Saturday 2nd September, 10am-12pm

Cost: £60

How to book

To request a referral form for Krush It or to book on the Krush Klub, please contact our coordinator by emailing

We look forward to krushing with you.

Categories:   iDID Adventure  

Posted By:  iDID Adventure

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Climbing Out at Harborough Rocks

August 29th, 2016

iDID climbers head to the peak district

With thanks to the Northants Community Foundation the Climb Out club members got their first taste of real rock.

It's been 5 months since we launched the Climb Out club which is aimed at young people affected by low well-being and mental health issues. Since the club began, our climbers have made leaps and bounds in their skill development with thanks to EarthWorks UK, our partners on the project. Taking advantage of the weather, we decided to take the next step and head outdoors!

Our instructors for the day were Kurt and his team from Adventure Ways, a fantastic organisation providing outdoor learning experiences. They were patient, clear, and very adaptable which was extremely important with the variety of needs in our group. Although everyone was a bit nervous at the start of the day, it was smiles all round on the way home. Not only did we try climbing but we also enjoyed walking around Harborough Rocks, Scrambling and Abseiling... so much fun!


Categories:   iDID Adventure  

Posted By:  iDID Adventure

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Eiger Paraclimb: A view from the camera lens

June 18th, 2015

So here we see the start of our very exciting blog series on a world first attempt of The Eiger by a team of paraclimbers. Their training has been going on for some time now so we wanted to get behind the headlines and find out more about what is driving the team, the challenges they face and the aims of the project.

"Climbing isn't a sport. It's a way of life. It's a passion. It's a dedication... It doesn't matter what your body can and can't do. It's about figuring out what you want it to do, and then figuring out how you can make that happened"

First up is camerman Euan Ryan of FinalCrux Films. Having begun his climbing journey at 8 years old, he soon found his passion for mountaineering and alpinism. Whilst working in Glasgow Climbing Centre, he set up FinalCrux Films and the rest as they say, is history.

You are filming the Eiger Paraclimb in its entirety.  What made you want to get involve in the project?

My role in Eiger Paraclimb 2015 is director of film production. I worked with Mark McGowan and Jamie (Jay) Owen last year producing a short film about Mark's transition in to paraclimbing coaching - the field of my sport that I knew very little about!

My eyes were opened to the amazing feats that paraclimbers perform on every climb and my admiration could not have been higher. When I heard Mark's plans for Eiger Paraclimb 2015, I couldn't resist the challenge!

As a mountaineer, you're no stranger to a bit of adventure. What has been your most memorable climb and what challenges were involved?

My most memorable climb would have to be my first 4000m peak - Mont Blanc du Tacul in the French Alps. It was a battle of physical and mental fatigue unlike anything else I'd ever encountered.

I haven't been up that high since then so The Eiger is a daunting prospect, with the addition of the task of documenting the climb.

Taking into account the additional technicalities involved in this project, how would you describe the enormity of the project itself? How does this match in magnitude to anything you’ve done before?

Eiger Paraclimb 2015 is unlike anything I've ever encountered or conceived of before. It will be a massive effort for every single member of the team to see ourselves from the base, to the summit and back again safely. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't anxious about it.

"It has the potential to ignite a flame in the hearts of additional needs climbers the whole world over. A flame of ambition and motivation to go out there and do something they never thought themselves capable of"

It's a notoriously dangerous mountain, and even more so in recent years. Many people I have told about the project have uttered words of warning and well-founded advice. But if it weren't such a challenge, I guess it wouldn't hold the gravitas that it does.

With little experience of working with paraclimbers, what new things are you experiencing and learning as part of the team?

My skill set for this project has had to widen substantially. I'm used to climbing fast and light however our ascent will most likely be painfully slow and add to that the requirement for carrying camera equipment up and down the mountain. I need to focus on being patient on the climb, and dedicate my time on the mountain to capture the best possible footage that best represents the team and the effort involved.

What do you think this project means for the climbing community as a whole?

This project is immeasurable. It speaks volumes unlike anything else. The climbing community has a stigma that surrounds the disabled that needs to be broken down and challenged.

Climbing isn't a sport. It's a way of life. It's a passion. It's a dedication. It doesn't matter what your body can and can't do. It's about figuring out what you want it to do, and then figuring out how you can make that happened.

A small team of British Paraclimbers are tackling the West Flank Route to the summit of The Eiger in Switzerland in July along with Finalcrux Films who will be recording the climb. Assisted by Mark McGowan and Colin Gourlay, the objective is to safely climb The Eiger with two members of the BMC GB Paraclimbing Team, John Churcher (Visually Impaired), Alex Taylor (Multiple Sclerosis), and British Paraclimber, Jamie Owen (Autism).

The Eiger Paraclimb 2015 is inspired by a will to raise awareness of Paraclimbing on an international stage alongside supporting the climbout365 challenge for awareness of mental health. You can support the project by donating to the FundRazr page (above),

Categories:   iDID Adventure  

Posted By:  Susanne Rees

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John Chandler joins the team

June 16th, 2015

As you may have noticed, here at iDID we've been welcoming in some new team members. We're excited to introduce the newest member of our advisory board *drum roll*... Disability Snowsport's very own John Chandler.

We caught up with Jon to have a chat about life as an adaptive snowboard instructor and what it means for him being involved in iDID.

           Jon with iDID Northampton Volunteers

Suzi: Hi Jon, great to have you onboard... welcome!

John: Thanks, It's exciting to be here.

Suzi: With all our new team members, we like to find out a little bit more about them. With that in mind, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do?

John: I'm John, and I'm proud to say I'm a bit of a geek. I wasn't a sporty kid growing up, and preferred to read or draw. I discovered computers at a very early age, but never expected to turn that hobby into a full-time career (at the time, I wanted to be a fighter pilot).

For some reason, I begged my parents to let me go on a school ski trip. I've no idea how they found the money, but they managed it, and I loved it - though I was definitely not a natural! I discovered snowboarding years later, and that really made an impression on me. So much so that, when I hit a rut in life, I quit my job and went off to Australia in 2004 to re-train as a snowboard instructor. Yes, that's Australia, not Austria.

Believe it or not, I rediscovered my love of programming during that winter season. In fact, I should say I rediscovered the real me and found out a lot of new things about myself.

Nowadays, I work full-time as a software developer, and teach snowboarding and skiing part-time for Snozone and DSUK. I'm one of the first British snowboard instructors to be licensed to teach adaptive snowboarding, which involved a lot of hard work but has been an amazing experience.

        iDID Northampton member learning to snowboard with John

Suzi: Sounds a bit epic to be honest and full of excitement. How would you describe your approach to work... and  life?

John: Have fun, keep learning new things.

My parents raised me to find the funny side of most things, which can get me into trouble sometimes! Having fun is important, and I'm fortunate in that I enjoy my life and my work. If something gets me down, I try to figure out a way to change it.

Learning is also important to me: I want to know everything, so I read up a lot on all kinds of subjects and often look around for courses to do or new things to try. Teaching comes as an extension of that, in that it forces me to understand a subject and learn how to pass that understanding to others.

Suzi: I think you're right, it's so important to learn new things particularly in your line of work. You work with an organisation, Disability Snowsports UK, who share our passion for accessibility, how do you see adventure sports in the context of well-being? What impact have you seen on people’s lives?

Jon: A lot of people concentrate on the "keep fit" part of adventure sports, and that's an important part for sure. However, there's more to it than that: the social and mental/emotional aspects are often forgotten.

Snowboarding and climbing may not be "team" sports, in the usual sense of the term, but they're very social. I've made many friends through them, and I was a very shy person until I started snowboarding and teaching. Public speaking was one of my biggest fears, but now I think nothing of talking to a group of beginner snowboarders or a packed hall at a tech conference. Everything is intertwined, and skills from sport or work can be applied elsewhere.

It's a real confidence boost to land a new trick, or climb a new wall - and anyone can do it with practice. I love seeing someone go from terrified strapping into a board for the first time, to doing their first unassisted run down a slope. You can see people's body language and mindset change in the space of a few minutes.

One of my first adaptive lessons was working with a child who has never been able to walk without someone holding on to him. His parents were worried he'd tire easily or find it too overwhelming, but we put him on skis and for the first time in his life he could balance and move around without help. That was such an amazing moment, to see him change the boundaries of what was possible. The first of many moments I've witnesse

Suzi: It can be really emotional work, I remember that first moment of mine, it was quite breathtaking. You've worked with our Northampton team on their snowsports programme, how did you first hear about iDID and what made you want to get invovled?

Jon: iDID booked me for snowboard lessons through DSUK. I didn't really get much information, other than it was a group booking and I might need to dust off my BSL skills, so I went in not knowing what to expect.

When I arrived, I was made so welcome by the group that I don't think most people realised I was the instructor until we started the lesson. I remember it being pretty chaotic (at least for me!) but the vibe was fantastic and everyone was great fun to teach. I love the fact everyone's so friendly and encouraging to each other - getting involved was such a natural thing to do.

Suzi: They're a great group of people, both members and volunteers, we really pride ourselves on our positive approach. So now we've got you more involved, what do you hope to achieve with iDID?

Jon: I think snowsports has a bit of reputation in the UK as being elitist and inaccessible, which certainly isn't the case. Take a look at our freestyle skiing and snowboarding Olympians, and you'll see they've come from backgrounds you wouldn't associate with the stereotype. Our Paralympians put in an amazing performance at Sochi, earning our first on-snow gold medal, and lifting adaptive snowsports in the UK to a new level. They all worked hard to get where they are, they didn't get it handed to them on a plate.

The UK enjoys a fantastic scene where we can ride snow or dryslope all year, and it's accessible to everyone. Through iDID, I want to ensure snowsports are for all: no matter who you are, or what your background.

Suzi: It's so good to have you involved, i'm sure we'll be hearing lots more from you. Thanks for chatting to us Jon

John currently works for the Milton Keynes branch of Disability Snowsports UK providing specialist instruction in adaptive snowsports. He is a pretty awesome fella ad is raising money for Milton Keynes to buy an adaptive snowboard, one of the first in the country! Click here to support Jon in his bid to raise money to enable DSUK MK to purchase an adaptive snowboard.

Categories:   iDID Adventure  

Posted By:  Susanne Rees

Comments:  0

iDID welcomes Mark McGowan to the team

March 9th, 2015

At iDID, we are dedicated to ensuring we are providing the best quality service to empower those individuals who benefit from our services. To achieve this, we set out to recruit an advisory board to support and enhance our work. We're absolutely delighted to welcome Mark McGowan to our board and can't wait to continue working with him. Our Director, Suzi Rees, caught up with Mark to grab a few words of wisdom but before we crack into the interview, here's a few reasons why he is so awesome.

Mark is a well renowned member of the climbing community both home and abroad, his passion for development, innovation and progress is second to none. No stranger to pushing his limits and challenging himself and others, Mark has more than enough epic achievements (we couldn't fit them all in):

  • Referenced in the Who is Who book Young Entrepreneurs for 2002
  • Masters in Business Administration  from Glasgow Caledonian University
  • Ground up 2nd Ascent of Gone With The Wind E7 6b, 6a in early ‘90’s with Grant Farquar
  • North Face of the Eiger 1992 with Neil Boyd
  • Began climbing again by training from  6a (5.10b) to 8a (5.13b) within 180 days of starting back after a long break 2010
  • Founder of Reach Climbing Coach
  • Coach for British Team 2011 (Scotland)
  • Team Coach for GB Paraclimbing Team for 2014

Suzi: Can you tell me a bit about yourself and what you do?

Mark: I am currently the founder of Reach Climbing Coach and appointed coach for 2015 for the BMC GB Paraclimbing Team. I began climbing at age twelve and was awarded a Talented Sports Performer Award by the Mountaineering Council of Scotland (to allow me to compete internationally), then stopped to focus on business and entrepreneurship in my early twenties. I was a Managing Director & founder of various companies throughout my fifteen years in business, laterally working with small start ups on a consultancy basis. Was lucky enough to be referenced in the ‘Who’s Who of Young Entrepreneurs’ book in 2002 and I completed an MBA part time in 2005 at Glasgow Caledonian University.

I decided to change my life in 2010 and follow my heart and began climbing again and moved to the French Midi Pyrenees in 2012 where, I worked part time as a consultant in Barcelona for a Spanish climbing wall manufacturer alongside coaching rock climbing from France & Spain. I moved back to UK and I am currently based in Snowdonia, North Wales where I coach and work closely with an inspiring young man with autism as his climbing coach and support worker to help him get the best from his life.  I also enjoy travelling and been lucky enough to visit gems like Tahiti, Jamaica and Glasgow!

Suzi: How would you describe your approach to life?
Mark: Looking back, I seemed to have done some stuff, gained some stuff and lost some stuff…

So I have learned to take the good and the bad from my life and learn about and enjoy the true freedom of being more open and kind to others...

Suzi: Given our work with marginalised groups, what do you think is the biggest barrier they, or society, face when trying to improve their well-being?

Mark: Working with the GB Paraclimbing Team and others, has made me firstly confront my own lack of understanding and initial fear at looking and working closely with marginalised groups and individuals. For me, the biggest barrier is similar to countries and nations understanding each other… It seems to be about finding ways to really be part of each others worlds, and learning the language of ‘humanity’ as opposed to ‘them and us’ policies etc.. So for marginalised groups trying to improve their well being, then, perhaps it comes down to learning about what strategies for well being fit particular groups then perhaps educating each other to understand the most important elements of human life could just be the pursuit of happiness for all.which naturally, is both mental and physical. But it seems that understanding and empathising with others is cheaper but physically making change in one’s world for others (inclusivity) initially takes a lot more courage.

I don’t know the answer but it seems like fear is the biggest barrier and education combined with action through inclusivity may create the change , but I know that my life is getting richer and more fulfilling by being part of the marginalised groups lives in the climbing community (through Paraclimbing) and I expect to be a metaphorical millionaire by continuing on this journey...

Suzi: How did you first hear about iDID and its work?

It was when I first met you competing at a climbing competition in London in 2014. From there then I've followed some of iDID's work, like the Bristol Inclusive Climbing Festival and the clubs.

Suzi: I remember it being my first competition, you guys were incredibly supportive. Great to hear you've been following our work. Other than iDID being amazing, what made you decide to join the advisory board?

Mark: If I’m honest, seeing how you has faced your personal adversity and flipped it for the benefit of others. I like when people can take life effecting challenges and turn them, through personal courage and compassion for others to improve their lives. Being a small part of that, is more than enough reason to join this great adventure.

Suzi: I think we all have our own story don't we, what is it they say? You can't have a rainbow without a little rain. You too have had an incredible journey and are doing amazing things with it. As you know, we're uber excited to have you on board. What do you hope to bring to the team?

Mark: I hope I can bring experience from a competitive commercial business environment and translate it into positive grassroots action and a strategic influence combining my current knowledge in working with the inspiring people in Paraclimbing to add real value to the great work that iDID will do in the future on both a national and international platform to improve the wellbeing of others through active participation in adventure sports.

Suzi: It's certainly going to be an exciting journey, what do you hope to see iDID achieve in the future?

Due to Mark's potty mouth, we had to cut this last bit out but it ran to the effect of.... ALOT!

Suzi: Thanks for chatting with us Mark, look forward to working with you.

You can find out more about Mark and work with Reach Climbing on his website or Twitter

Be sure to check out his latest project, the Eiger Paraclimb 2015

Categories:   iDID Adventure  

Posted By:  Susanne Rees

Comments:  0

Bristol's Inclusive Climbing Festival

September 11th, 2014

iDID CEO, Susanne Rees, talks about the shenanigans of BIC Fest and why collaboration is vital for sustainable inclusion

So, the team have asked me to blog about my experience of the Bristol Inclusive Climbing Festival from its inception to implementation. To be fair, this is a really difficult task, so many amazing people have been involved in this event so I will cover from my perspectives and apologies in advance for anything I miss.

Firstly, i'm really proud to say that the inspiration for this event came from iDID's Adaptive Adventure Conference in April of this year. This was the first occasion I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Rosa from The Climbing Academy and Rose from Redpoint Climbing Centre, both in Bristol. We had recently launched a club in Bristol so it was fantastic to see the support of the professionals the club work with.

Refreshing Positivity

What I found particularly refreshing to see was just how excited they were to learn how they can provide inclusive opportunities. With the conference finished, Rosa wasted no time getting in touch to move things forward and the following months included countless emails, idea swapping and event objectives. One thing we all agreed on was that this event should be a catalyst for sustainable inclusion in the Bristol area... to make sure whatever your preference for participation, your aspirations as a climber or (most importantly) additional needs, there was an opportunity to be signposted to. I'll talk more about this later, first lets focus, quite rightly so, on the event itself.

Two weeks prior to the event, BIC Fest staff were subject to a weekend training course with iDID Adventure covering Inclusive Communications, Deaf awareness and Sight Guiding. This enabled them to think differently about communication and learn how to use adaptive methods when working with deaf and disabled people on the climbing wall. Once again, the instructors had a proactive and positive approach to their training and there was a real atmosphere of change in the air... I love that!

"As an instructor it meant the opportunity in advance to undertake a variety of brilliant courses to open my eyes to the possibilities available to assist anyone to get on the climbing regardless of any impairment" Peter Derrett, TCA Instructor

Feeling motivated, we all began the final countdown..

The Festival

From my perspective, it was fantastic to see how engaged all the climbing instructors were in their sessions and some, who started out nervous, became a beacon for problem solving when addressed with new barriers to overcome. Obviously, the participants were having an incredible time but my focus was not on them. My focus was on the professionals because I KNEW the participants would be fine. We've run plenty of events to know that. 

Anyway, I will let the pictures speak for themselves. I just want to add a huge thank you to everyone involved in the day. Particularly Rosa and Rose, Sarah from iDID Bristol, Julia from Access Sport, Camilla who volunteered as an interpreter and Mark from Bristol Disability Equality Forum. We were fortunate to have some amazing role models to give a demo and speak about their experiences. Nik Royale, the UK's first climbing instructor with Cerebral Palsy and Georgia Pilkington, British Paraclimbing Champion. Most importantly to all the staff and participants.

Check out some of the photos by clicking on the image below.

Ensuring Sustainability

I talk about sustainability a lot and really, it's sad that this isn't a top priority when organising events. It's all very well having one off events but is it not a waste of resources if there is nothing to follow?

A core principle at iDID adventure is to ensure we support professionals to take responsibility for inclusive provisions. The term 'disability' covers such a wide spectrum of needs, it is easy to assume you have to be an expert in everything disability related to be able to work with disabled people. Really, you need to have an open mind and a willingness to learn from others. its that simple. Some professionals we work with are over specialised and find it difficult to accept doing something different but with a little support and the right attitude, accessibility is so easy to achieve!

Now, add another barrier... financial motivation. Realistically, deaf or disabled people may need some extra support and this can sometimes mean more man power - its one of the most common reasons I hear for centres not providing inclusive opportunities. This is where collaboration is vital. 

Cue the bit about sustainability...

And so it goes, a story about working together. It never ceases to amaze me when people assume that they can do everything on their own. We are living in a time where collaboration is key. Funding now relies on results and investors on evidence of sustainability... this is more true for social enterprise but essentially, the third sector is changing and we must too change with it.

So how does that relate to BIC Fest. Well, collaboration has been key since the start, during the event and now looking to how they continue the legacy. This has been through the collective work of The Climbing Academy, Redpoint Bristol, iDID Bristol and Access Sport. The relationship works by using an effective referral system to ensure all needs are catered for and a maximum impact is had. It is certainly a model to be replicated by other professionals looking to launch their own inclusive climbing festival or accessible opportunities.

If you've been inspired by the Bristol Inclusive Climbing Festival and want to run your own.  You can get in touch with iDID and/or the BIC Fest team directly for support. 

Categories:   iDID Adventure  

Posted By:  Susanne Rees

Comments:  0

Help us to save local provisions for young people

September 3rd, 2014

Local social enterprise needs your help to stop disadvantaged young people losing out on crucial services to gain skills and qualifications

Adventure Ways is a social enterprise working with young people at risk by providing a solid base for personal development through outdoor learning and activities. Working will disengaged youth and disadvantaged young people, Adventure Ways receive a high number of pupil referrals from schools across Northamptonshire.

To accommodate this growing need, recent permission was given to erect a high ropes course to support the innovative programmes provided. Due to a misunderstanding however, Daventry District Council have refused just one section of the platform that enables these young people to gain vital qualifications.

Many organisations across Northamptonshire will be affected by this decision. Change of Scene which is based in Northampton, relies heavily on the provisions at the Moulton site. Change of Scene is a charity run by Cllr Anna King that uses adventurous activities as a tool to transform the lives of young people, through an innovative and exciting programme. iDID Northampton, a local adventure club for deaf and disabled people also works closely with Adventure Ways to provide accessible opportunities.

“I find it heart breaking when provisions that support the hardest to reach individuals to help themselves, are taken away due to simple misunderstandings. It is easy to forget that some young people have neither the psychological capacity nor emotional ability to engage with the community and services such as these are crucial to a successful transition” - iDID Adventure Director Susanne Rees

The climbing tower, although supported in its initial planning permission, is due to be taken down by December due to the new application being rejected on the basis of a small number of local resident concerns.

"We are extremely disappointed, the climbing and abseiling tower would give focus to these young people and build skills that lead to genuine employment… something most young people struggle with! The aim was to provide courses such as the Mountain Training Climbing Wall Award. The large fees we will have to incur to run these programmes means that young people will once again be uprooted to unfamiliar environments and programme provision will most certainly be affected” - Adventure Ways Director Kurt Perryman

Adventure Ways need your help to support their appeal. Join the community in signing this petition to allow the use of this much needed facility to support disadvantaged and disengaged youth in Northamptonshire. A huge thank you to everyone in advance!


Categories:   iDID Adventure  

Posted By:  Susanne Rees

Comments:  0

Could adventure sports improve anxiety?

May 27th, 2014

"When you realise you can be brave in one area of your life, you realise you can be brave in other areas too."

It’s fair to say that we British folk are a little traditional. Historically, we have always looked to NHS providers as the only antidote to anxiety but what can we be doing to help ourselves and what self-help strategies are effective?

Many individuals use a variety of methods to cope with anxiety, whether that be meditation, therapy or medication, it really does depend on the individual. One remarkable fact is that people rarely think to use exercise as a prescription (a free one at that).

It’s not a new concept, exercise has been used to reduce anxiety for many years. There are huge health benefits attached to physical activity including reducing risks of heart conditions, cancers, dementia and depression and the NHS have even commented that a sedentary lifestyle is a ‘silent killer’.

For some, trying a new exercise can be daunting and professionals often recommend trying lots of different activities once and seeing what you like but is it that easy?
I am often quoted saying that well-being is like a ladder, each rung taking us closer to our goal of good well-being. Most services assume that people can reach the first rung, or take the first step but there is an entire population of individuals that don’t have the capacity to. For those with anxiety, it’s frustrating when someone says ‘go and try a new exercise, it will help you’… it’s just not that easy!

The clinical and sporting community need to work closer together. Sports clubs will no doubt find it difficult to attract individuals with mental health issues but it’s not the clubs themselves, it’s the media representation of elitism, it does nothing to reduce anxiety through its perception.

In Britain, we have a long history of encouraging participation in team or competition sports. These sports can be fantastic for improving social engagement and group cohesion however, they can also provide a negative experience for people suffering with anxiety and an opportunity to hide in the background.

In traditional sporting pastimes, we are also given the space we need in our minds to allow everyday distractions to squeeze in – just think, how many times have you been swimming and thought ”I wonder what I’m going to have for dinner later”? …It’s easy because there is room for those thoughts.

A hot topic at the moment is how adventure sports can provide an alternative approach. Many countries around the world already utilize adventure sports as a method of reducing anxiety, particularly America and Australia. Britain are a little behind but we are certainly catching up.

So what are adventure sports and what’s so special about them?

iDID Adventure is a social enterprise using adventure sports as a platform to improve well-being, confidence and self-esteem in young adults affected by deafness, disability and mental health conditions. iDID define adventure sports as activities such as rock climbing, watersports, snowsports and paddlesports - each one providing a unique opportunity to engage with ourselves, others and the environment.

Rock climbing in particular has received a big pat on the back for all the benefits it can provide. Dr Sally Mclaren is both a rock climber and a clinical psychologist specialising in anxiety. She often prescribes climbing to her patients and finds that a portion of those patients overcome their anxiety by themselves. Dr Mclaren comments:

“it’s [rock climbing] helpful with all anxiety problems because it enables people to enter into a deep level of concentration that helps push anxious thoughts away. People gradually habituate themselves to be more brave, and when you realise you can be brave in one area of your life, you realise you can be brave in other areas too,”

As fantastic as climbing is, it can’t receive all the glory! Wakeboarding too is fast becoming an effective way to engage people in exercise which improves their well-being. iDID recently conducted a survey amongst wakeboarders and found some interesting results.

•    70% agreed that wakeboarding provided them with social interaction
•    82% said that they were more motivated to trying more sports
•    100% of participants felt that participating in wakeboarding regularly improved their psychological well-being

iDID believe that young people should have more opportunity to take risks in a safe environment and allow them to learn risk management skills that can be transferred in other areas of their lives. Adventure sports can provide the ideal opportunity to do that.

It’s important to note that individuals with major anxiety disorders should consult their specialist to discuss the management of taking up new activities but even more importantly, professionals should be encouraging and sign posting young people to opportunities offering supportive participation.

Susanne Rees is CEO & Founder of iDID Adventure CIC and a paraclimber. She is profoundly deaf and has been coping with Neurofibromatosis Type 2 for the last 10 years. No stranger to disability, depression or anxiety, Susanne founded iDID as a response to a lack of engaging opportunities in physical and mental health rehabilitation. iDID will be launching their ‘Well-being Project’ pilot in 2014, for any enquiries please see the contact details below.

iDID Adventure CIC

Categories:   iDID Adventure  

Posted By:  Susanne Rees

Comments:  0

Spotlight On: Paraclimbing with the British Mountaineering Counc

April 14th, 2014

For those of you who know me, I am a deaf adventure junkie and love nothing more than attaching myself to a rope to climb great heights or strapping myself to a board to be dragged behind a boat! I am also the CEO of iDID Adventure CIC, a social enterprise supporting deaf and disabled people to participate in adventure sports.

After losing my hearing and acquiring a disability, I saw a different side to the adventure industry – one with huge fences baring the ‘disabled people not welcome’ sign.

Times have changed hugely since I was first turned away from climbing because I was deaf and recently in a radio interview I was posed with the following question: How has adventure accessibility changed since you first started iDID?

For a number of years, iDID Adventure has been fighting for better access to adventure sports but we’re not the only ones! I say this a lot but attitude change doesn’t happen without collaboration and that is exactly what iDID is part of. Without the work of fantastic organisations, iDID wouldn’t be successful. iDID never seeks to replace services that already exist, we look for the gaps and aim to fill them, or support others to do so, which is why we work in partnership with providers across the country.

To answer the question, we need to review what the situation was when we first began.

I want to talk specifically about the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) as recently, I competed in the first round of the Paraclimbing Series and its one of iDID’s core sports. Given that my first experience of inaccessibility occurred in rock climbing, I thought it most appropriate to review its progression. Unfortunately, money doesn’t grow on trees and vital funding is required to allow charities and National Governing Bodies to improve the work they do. Following the success of the Paralympic 2012, funding was opened up to increase disabled participation in sport. As with all funding, targets follow.

I’m not implying that having extra targets is the only reason organisations increase their accessible provisions but it certainly helps. If anything, it puts a priority on inclusive projects. So what does this have to do with the BMC? Well… I think they need to be proud that they began addressing accessibility prior to the games and have worked closely with leading organisations but I’m guessing due to limited resources, were not always able to act on their progressive ideas.

In the last few years, the BMC have worked their socks off to bring Great Britain up to scratch for international competition and have firmly put our country on the map for climbing talent. With the support of key climbing centres, volunteers and climbing organisations… not forgetting GB’s amazing paraclimbers, the BMC have launched a national climbing competition for disabled athletes!

Using a top down approach, the BMC are able to meet organisations like iDID and OnThisRoc, in the middle to ensure that both grassroots opportunities have progression routes and that competition opportunities have an entry route. It’s fantastic to see!

I want to talk a little about the talent in our country, to which the BMC’s success wouldn’t exist without. World paraclimbing champion Fran Brown never ceases to amaze me, watching her on the wall you would never guess that she had broken her neck in an accident! The same can be said for the likes of Sianagh Gallagher, Europe’s only one armed climber and Rad Breeze, one of Team GB’s VI climbers.

As I mentioned earlier, I recently took part in the first round of the 2014 Paraclimbing series and was rather overwhelmed to be in the company of these greats! It was my first competition so I didn’t know what to expect but with climbers like the above involved, you turn up wanting to have your s*@t together.

Susanne Rees with #1 deaf climber Georgia Pilkington

I’m going to be honest here… I definitely did not expect the day to go as it did. I am the same as many out there who get daunted by the idea of competition but I literally could not have been made to feel any more welcome. The BMC team were fantastic, they supported me to understand how the day was structured and even supported me when I was climbing. Everyone gathers around climbers to give support and you can’t help but feel part of a family, all of my initial worries had disappeared within half an hour and I had the best day. I can’t wait for the next two rounds now.

There are two reasons I took part in the competition. 1) Because I believe in experience. Understanding how our members feel is vital to ensuring they are supported enough in their activities. If I’m going to be encouraging young people to get involved, I should know what that feels like. Too many organisations miss this vital ingredient and instructors can often become too specialised, they forget what it’s like to be new to the sport and with psychological barriers being the biggest cause of non-participation, solutions can only be found by experiencing them.

The second reason was to represent deaf people. I was absolutely delighted and proud of the BMC that they have continuously supported the entry of deaf climbers. With deaf climbers now taking an interest and realising that climbing is accessible for them, this category will grow. The next mission is to have this reflected in the international community – I can only hope that the BMC have this high on their agenda.

In conclusion, my answer is this. With NGB’s and organisations taking such huge steps, we are seeing real growth in accessible opportunities and will continue to do so.  There is a lot of work to do, there always is but all this work means nothing if we don’t have a response from the deaf and disabled communities. I urge you to go to your local climbing centre, get involved!

There are two more rounds in the paraclimbing series and spaces are available, check out the BMC webpage for more information on booking. If you want to go but are a little daunted, get in touch – we’d be happy to help. Here are the dates for the diary:



See you there!

Categories:   iDID Adventure  

Posted By:  Susanne Rees

Comments:  0

iDID, Because I Can

March 4th, 2013

Suzi for BlogSo traditionally, adventure sports are for the super fit able bodied people in life right?! After all, how do you partner a climber who can't hear you, or ski when you have no movement in your legs? Well, the simple answer is: where there's a will there's a way!

I have to admit that I myself followed these (short-sighted) presumptions before. Before I lost my hearing, I had never come across anyone with a disability taking part in any adventure activities. It was only when I became completely deaf that I experienced the full extent of this presumptuous view. I think it's safe to admit that prejudice is not an individual problem, it is a social epidemic, but one that I am happy to believe is in the process of elimination. We are in an age of change amongst disabled people and it is our responsibility to educate society to make it a better place. There are too many angry people in the world to be aggressive in change and after all; life is too short to be annoyed all the time.

I'm proud to be a part of iDID with some fantastic people. This project aims to help educate mainstream activity providers and ensure they have the knowledge and practical advice to ensure that disabled individuals get the same experience from their services as the 'able-bodied' (such an ugly term) users. In an ideal world, every business would have speech-to-text or other fancy equipment, but what about businesses that can't afford that and receive no grants?? iDID is here to colour in the grey areas and bridge the gap between ideology and ignorance.

I believe that every individual regardless of age, gender, circumstance or disability is capable of taking part in adventure activities providing they have the right support for them. Every day, someone in this world achieves things they never believed possible, we need to open our eyes and our minds to break down barriers and allow individuals to have the confidence to achieve the impossible.

Categories:   iDID Adventure  

Posted By:  Site admin

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Up, Up, Up and away... Suzi goes indoor Skydiving!

January 23rd, 2013

As you may know, iDID sends it's volunteers and staff off to try out latest crazes in the adventure world. Well, 2013 is no different and we started this year off with a bang - indoor skydiving!! 

I have to admit, when I was in Australia I did a real skydive so I was a bit snobby about the indoor alternative. I thought, there was no way you could compare the two... how wrong i was!

For my skydive, i didn't have an interpreter and just hoped that i would understand all of the instructions. I arrived to be greeted by really friendly staff (all of whom where uber cool) and headed to the training room to learn all the moves. In training, you sit down and watch a video (insert interpreter and written transcription) and spend some time being tested on your new found knowledge. You are taught about positioning when you are inside the chamber and because the jet engine (yes, i said jet engine) is so loud, everyone needs a few signs when they are flying.

Once the instructor is happy that everyone has understood the training, it's off to get your kit on.... excitement!  

We headed to the "wardrobe" to get our jump suits and helmets; the instructor gave me a choice of wearing a normal helmet, or one with a cuddly toy on top... of course, I went with the cuddly toy - a monkey more specifically.

You can imagine how I looked, 27 year old with a monkey on my head...

I so didn't care, i loved it! 

Let me explain little about how indoor skydiving works. There is a chamber in the shape of a cylinder with a rather large jet engine (thing) underneath. The wind created by the engine is so powerful that it you can achieve flying... Very cool. Your instructor is trained to be able to handle the wind and can stand whilst you are flying. This means that he/she can support you. 

As we walked to the chamber, I began to get a little nervous - I didn't really know what to expect and was slightly worried about my balance issues. I watched as the others took their flight and it was amazing! Any time they wobbled, the instructor was right there to correct them and sign what they needed to do to correct their positioning. My confidence started to build and I started to get more and more eager to jump in! 

My turn came and i stood at the entrance with my instructor. They hold onto you and basically jump in with you so you fall straight into the flying position. It sounds such a short time when they say you fly for a few minutes at a time, but it honestly feels like you're in there for ages.

Back to my snobbery - the indoor skydiving gives you exactly the same feeling as when you a free falling from the plane (just a lot more safer!). I was genuinely surprised at this as the price difference is in its hundreds! 

After a couple of flights, we were given the option to have an extra experience where the instructor takes you spinning up and down the tunnel... of course I was ALL FOR THAT! 

With my experience finished, it was off with the jump suit and straight down to reception to look at the photos... The images looked hilarious, there is me flying in this chamber, but all you can notice is a large monkey flapping about on my head! 

I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone, it is absolutely brilliant and great fun. I can't wait for iDID's indoor skydiving event on the 24th February. iDID have negotiated some great discounts for the event so it is a great opportunity to try something new AND save some money! 

Check out the event page for more details


Categories:   iDID Adventure  

Posted By:  Susanne Rees

Comments:  0

Fear is the vulture that sits on the shoulder

January 1st, 2013

Suzi for BlogFirstly, let me wish you all a Happy New Year, it looks as though it will be epic!

At iDID, we are all very excited about what this year will bring. As you may know by now, iDID believes in independence and strives to celebrate the diversity of people with disabilities by breaking down barriers and achieving the impossible. I personally believe that impossibility is a product of fear and that anyone can achieve their goals with the right support in place; over the next few months, the iDID team aim to prove that to you.

As an individual with a disability, I steer very clear from sports (if you have seen me attempt to ride a bike, you will know why!), my co-ordination is well... un-co-ordinated, I can’t hear people giving me instructions and I can barely walk in a straight line. Since starting iDID, I have been facing my own demons and found that I had a deep confidence issue embedded in my disability. Those of you that know me will know I rarely let things stand in my way, so why am I too scared to go follow a life-long ambition of travelling or avoid going for nights out when the only thing stopping me is… me?!  After searching for the answer to this question, I have found myself back at the roots of iDID. Many people have a fear that they won’t manage or that people will judge them because of their disability. If you’re reading this and feel the same, ask yourself, ‘Do I want to be scared forever?’

I am urging each of you to celebrate your independence and try something new. Get in touch - share your stories with us or write a blog!

Categories:   iDID Adventure  

Posted By:  Maya Angelou

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