A NEW climbing centre is set to open in Ellesmere Port.

Sam Oxford and Ant White, from Chester, are hoping to inspire families to get fit with the launch of their venture, Boulder Hut, at the Olympic Park in Poole Hall Road.

It includes climbing challenges for adults and smaller boulders for toddlers, as well as group training sessions.

Bouldering is a stripped-down form of rock climbing that sees people scale ‘boulders’ over crash mats with no ropes. They feature routes of varying difficulties, with colour-coded hand-holds.

The venue is due to open this summer.

The couple have been working on their business plan with Chris Leicester, the Neighbourhood Partnerships Manager at social enterprise company Avenue Services, receiving advice on premises and funding.

Chris has met regularly with the pair, guiding them through the start-up process and helping them seek marketing opportunities for their business to thrive.

Sam and Ant’s dream has since been turned into reality by raising £386,200 through Crowdcube, a website where the public can support a business idea by investing in it.

Statistics from Public Health England show one in six deaths in the UK is down to inactivity, while 20 per cent of children are obese when they start school.

Sam said: “Climbing is great fun, suitable for all ages, and has many health benefits so we are really excited about the launch of Boulder Hut.

“The support from Chris and Avenue Services has been invaluable and it was a great feeling to know that we’ve hit our funding target.”

Chris added: “Sam and Ant have a real passion to introduce climbing to young people to improve their health. They’re a commercial company but they have intense social values.

“Avenue Services work with a wide range of local businesses, providing support and advice, and it is fantastic to see this venture come to fruition.

“Our Enterprise Service offers business support to people who need it most and we would encourage anyone who thinks we can help to get in touch.”

Avenue Services, which is a not-for-profit organisation, is a joint venture between Sanctuary Group and Cheshire West and Chester Council.

Entrepreneurs and small businesses can speak to trained advisers at the Parade Enterprise Centre in Blacon for support with a range of issues including finance and business growth.

It is a free service which has been successfully running since the centre opened in 2015 as part of a £15 million redevelopment of the Parade.

To find out more call 0300 123 1741.