A group of 9 volunteers, both Deaf and hearing, are raising funds for Deafway in preparation for the big Ice Climbing Challenge on Friday 4th December. Each participant will be aiming to raise at least £150 in exchange for the opportunity to push their limits on the ice wall at Vertical Chill in Manchester.
The intrepid supporters will have to wrap up warm: they will be working their way up the ice wall in sub-zero temperatures using specialist equipment provided by Vertical Chill, such as ice axes and crampons (spikes which are attached to boots and make it possible to cling on to the ice). Visitors will be able to watch them through windows as they scale the ice from basement level all the way up to the ceiling. Volunteer John Stewart says: “I recently joined a rock climbing club and absolutely love it! So this is the perfect opportunity for me to put my new skills to the test and raise money for a good cause at the same time.”
The team at Vertical Chill will teach participants the essential skills they need to take on their challenge and a qualified interpreter from CoSign will be providing free sign language interpreting for the Deaf members of the group. “A few weeks ago I met Oliver Westbury, the first Deaf person to reach the North Pole. If Deaf people can reach the North Pole then we can do anything!” explains Steven Wynne who volunteered for the event after joining Deafway as a member of staff.
The proceeds will go to Deafway, a Preston-based charity which runs various projects, including schools for Deaf children in Nepal and Uganda and the dream activities programme for Deaf adults with additional needs who live in residential care at Deafway. Christina Eley, Deafway’s Development Officer, says: “We aim to build our residents’ confidence and ultimately give them as much independence as possible. That’s where our Dream Activities come in – our residents need support to make their dreams happen, so we work with them to make that possible, whether it is learning to ride a bike or diving with sharks!”
Vertical Chill are proud to be supporting Deafway: “It’s such a great cause to get behind and if, on top of doing something good, it also means that people get to enjoy themselves and learn something new at the same time, what’s not to like?” asks Alex from Vertical Chill. Carol Kyle, director of CoSign, adds: “We have never had to interpret for somebody hanging from an ice wall before, so this will even be a challenge for the interpreter.”
Anyone who wants to support Deafway without risking sore muscles the next day can make a donation to the climbers’ sponsorship pages online.