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About Us

Project One was founded in London by Carmen McIlveen, climber, coach and qualified instructor.

Her motivation to qualify was to simply take a few kids from her housing estate climbing, but while working on the reception at a climbing wall, the lack of diversity within the sport became glaringly obvious.

Watching families enter and unfortunately leave the centre due to the rising costs of climbing tuition, she was inspired to directly address the issue of accessibility to climbing and the outdoors. 

After a couple of false starts, in June 2020 the opportunity to spend some time focusing on creating ways to increase diversity arose and Project One was formed. 

Indoor Climbing is the most common precursor to Rock Climbing, which is known to benefit both physical and mental health in a variety of ways*, so it is imperative that we create opportunities for people to gain knowledge, set safe foundations and garner enthusiasm to take their skills to the outdoors in an affordable way. 

Bearing in mind the amount of BAME households living in poverty in the UK is up to 35.7% compared to 17.2% for white people* it’s no wonder that there is considerable difference in who is able to spend money on extracurricular activities and hobbies. 

It’s hard to find any statistics on the ethnicity of climbers in the UK (we’ll be working on that) however, if you ask anyone within the community, they will tell you that BAME people have been massively underrepresented. It is visible in our indoor facilities and strikingly obvious when we get outdoors.

The fact is, climbing is an expensive sport, and understandably so as it can be dangerous. Entrance fees can cost anywhere between £7 - £15pp for a single visit, Tasters usually no less than £20pp and longer courses go up into the £100’s. On top of that, you may need to rent specialist shoes and equipment, which can easily add another £10 per visit.

So, with the increasing cost of living and reduced access to services since the outbreak of COVID, there is an even greater need to create opportunities that will help improve comminity wellness in creative and inspiring ways.

Due to illness in 2021/22, Carmen made the decision to both take a semi-hiatus and...expand the services of Project One(?!)

Due to lack of access to climbing walls and the outdoors of her own, she realised the need to offer alternative methods of maintaining mental and physical heath.

By providing free and subsidised access to sport, alongside creative activities, we are confident that we can increase the amount of people living in underrepresented or impoverished communities, that are introduced  climbing and other sports, but also to give them the tools to be able to maintain a healthy body, mind and heart for a lifetime.



Carmen Mcilveen


Houe Man


Lucas Perry-Hill

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