Hazel Findlay climb (credit Stephen Ford Horne)Kenton Cool closeupNICAS is run by a Board of nine Trustees and (since June 2019) a full time staff team of two. Our Memorandum and Articles of Association have been designed to ensure that ABC members have a say in how we deliver our remit. We also work closely with coaches and Technical Experts to support climbing facilities in their delivery of the schemes.

Our Trustees (Management Board) Our Trustees can each serve up to two terms each of three years in post on our Board, and are voted in by the ABC at each year's AGM. The ABC-appointed Trustee has no time limit on their term of office.

The Trust is able to recruit independent Trustees to ensure a breadth of experience, skills and knowledge. The Trustee representation is drawn from five ABC Approved Member walls (with a wide diversity in their size, ownership and management) and up to four independent Trustees chosen for their particular business skills. Terms last for 3 years and elections take place every year at our AGM.

Our Board comprises:
  • Ian C B Taylor - Independent Trustee, Chair
  • Dean Straw - Mile End Climbing Wall, ABC Member Wall Trustee
  • Jeremy Tapping - Westway Climbing Centre, ABC Member Wall Trustee
  • Ben Levey - Castle Climbing Centre, ABC Member Wall Trustee
  • Lee Browning - The Boardroom Climbing Centre, ABC-appointed Trustee
  • Jon Chittenden - Independent Trustee
  • Carys Rowlands - Independent Trustee
  • Ken Garner - Independent Trustee

Full details of our trustee backgrounds and their experience is listed later on this webpage.
All our Trustees complete Conflict Of Interest declarations which are reviewed at every Board meeting, so that we can ensure all decisions taken are scrutinised thoroughly without undue bias.

We are able to invite advisors if required and have recently co-opted Ken Garner who brings strong financial management experience.

We also have Observers who provide a valuable input and insight to the Board. Observers are invited to attend on an occasional basis. We have agreements in place to invite Observers from the BMC, Mountain Training UK, Mountaineering Scotland (Climb Scotland) and Mountaineering Ireland.

Interested in applying to become a Trustee? We usually seek applicants in late Spring / early Summer as vacancies arise with end of trustee terms. Details of the applicants sought and the process will be published in our News section.

Our Board is committed to following to the Voluntary Code of Good Governance as defined by the Sport and Recreation Alliance. The Code was created by the sector, for the sector, and can be used by organisations to demonstrate a commitment to improving and maintaining good governance.

Good Governance (source: SRA)
Technical Experts (moderation, training)Technical ExpertWe are lucky to have access to a group of highly-experienced Technical Experts, who come from a variety of climbing backgrounds and all act as advisors to climbing facilities. Our Technical Experts carry out our moderation visits to centres and sometimes deliver training to coaches. We will be working to reestablish this team after a pause in moderation but currently they are:

Click on each name to see their Mountain Training record.

Staff: Nick Parkin (MD) and Abbi Blakey (Membership)Abbi BlakeyAfter a full review of our structure we are now set up to run with two full time staff to manage and grow the schemes for the future.

Our Managing Director Nick Parkin's role is to give leadership and a full time decision making role to NICAS.

Membership Manager, Abbi Blakey started her role full time in April 2019. Having previously worked part time for the schemes on specific projects; Abbi brings continuity of expertise as well as a customer focussed approach for our Members: the 240+ walls who run NICAS Climbing and NICAS Bouldering.

Screening Committee (review centre applications) The Screening Committee are assisted by our Membership Manager who acts as liaison between centres and the committee if any technical queries arise and need to be reviewed.
  • Graham Little - NICAS Technical Advisor, member of CDT
  • Chas Hall - NICAS Course Director, member of CDT
  • Tim Miller - Technical Officer, NICAS Bouldering Primary Centre Course Director, member of CDT
Coach Development Team (CDT) The Coach Development Team are a team of highly skilled individuals, who deliver NICAS Climbing and NICAS Bouldering inductions and related training. Most have other involvement with our schemes in their "other" work lives too.

  • Stephen Skinner - NICAS Course Director (The Lock)
  • Melissa Bacon - NICAS Course Director (Oxford Brookes)
  • Graham Little - NICAS Technical Advisor and Coach
  • Joby Davis - NICAS Technical Advisor (multiple NICAS Climbing and NICAS Bouldering sites)
  • Chas Hall - NICAS Course Director (Alter Rock)
  • Tim Miller - NICAS Bouldering Course Director (Boulder Shack)
  • Jon Chamberlain - NICAS Technical Advisor
  • Pete Nellist - NICAS Course Director (The Peak)
  • Leman Lemanski - NICAS Course Director (Dublin Climbing Centre)
  • Alan Halewood - NICAS Technical Advisor and Tech Expert
  • Jamie Vardy - Climbing Coach
  • Stuart Howard - Climbing Coach
  • Danny Griffith - Climbing Coach
  • Juliet Scott - NICAS Course Director (South Norfolk Climbing Club)
  • Mark Garland - NICAS Technical Advisor
Ambassadors
We have two ambassadors, mountaineer Kenton Cool and professional climber Hazel Findlay. Read more about their links with our schemes here.

Who are our Trustees: in detail


Ian Taylor (Independent Trustee)
Ian brings extensive successful senior management experience in delivering strategic plans with exceptional leadership and business skills, demonstrating high levels of success and team building. He has commercial experience across a variety of business sectors PLC, Privately owned businesses, Charities, Not for Profit and Public Sector success. A change manager who positively impacts on the culture of an organisation, delivering strategic outcomes combined with growth of revenues and when required delivering acquisitions and creating shareholder/stakeholder value, he also has in-depth experience in the Standards, Qualifications and Skills landscape.

He has held numerous Directorships including Chair of Audit Governance and Risk for FISSS, and was an Olympic Gold and Bronze medalist (Hockey) and GB Flag Bearer at the Olympic opening ceremony.

Ian is currently Chief Executive of NEBOSH. The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) was formed in 1979 and is an independent examining board and awarding body with charitable status operating in over 130 countries. NEBOSH offers a comprehensive range of globally-recognised, vocationally-related qualifications designed to meet the health, safety, environmental, wellbeing and risk management needs of all places of work in both the private and public sectors and employs over one hundred and twenty talented and dedicated staff. Courses leading to NEBOSH qualifications attract around 50,000 candidates annually and are offered by over 600 course providers around the world.

Elected: 2019
Due for re-election: 2022


Ben Levey (ABC Trustee)
Ben Levey Ben is Head of Operations at The Castle, a NICAS Awarding Centre.

He is currently responsible for developing their Youth Programme. In addition, he is an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development and is an active qualified climbing coach.

Elected: 2016
Re-elected: 2018
Due for re-election: 2021



Carys Rowlands (Independent Trustee)
Carys has climbed since she was 2 years old. A barrister by profession, and as senior conduct manager for the CIMA, she brings first-class legal skills. She has a background in coaching and teaching sport and manages two London DJs.

Elected: 2016
Re-elected: 2019
Due for re-election: 2021
(Awaiting photo)


Dean Straw (ABC Trustee)
Dean is an Assistant Centre Manager at Mile End Climbing Wall (a NICAS Climbing and NICAS Bouldering Primary Centre) and has delivered the NICAS scheme since it started in 2008. He has been involved in Youth Work and education within the voluntary sector for over 30 years. He brings valuable insight into his experience of both NICAS Climbing and NICAS Bouldering scheme delivery and future direction. He has a good handle on the issues and opportunities including Child Protection and GDPR, and keeps us grounded in representing the views and practicalities of scheme delivery.

Elected: 2017
Re-elected: 2020
Due for re-election: 2023


Jeremy Tapping (ABC Trustee)
Jez TappingJez is Head of Climbing at The Westway, a NICAS Climbing and NICAS Bouldering Primary Centre. As well as his wealth of day to day experience, he has a number of degrees in Sport Management, Development and Coaching. He is also the Regional Climbing Manager for Everyone Active.

Elected: 2016
Re-elected: 2019
Due for re-election: 2022


Lee Browning (ABC-Appointed Trustee)
Lee started and is managing director of The Boardroom Climbing, a primary centre for NICAS Climbing and NICAS Bouldering just outside Chester.

Alongside the real-life experience of owning and running a climbing facility, he has academic qualifications to support this, including postgraduate qualification in management, chartered management institute and a sports degree. He is a climbing development coach having delivered climbing sessions for years including NICAS Climbing and NICAS Bouldering, amongst other outdoor industry qualifications. He sits on the board for the Association of British Climbing Walls as well.

Alongside climbing Lee has also raced kayaks up to an international level and in his spare time does consultancy for other climbing facilities.

Appointed: 2018

Jon Chittenden (Independent Trustee)
Jon ChittendenA previous climbing wall owner, MD/Governance business experience, Marketing manager with a talent for data gathering and a keen climber. He was previously the MD of TAJJ Climbing, driving the launch and growth of Boulder Central and the Portway Wall. Having sold this business he is now the Online Marketing Coordinator for the BMC. His expertise in this role comes from driving marketing strategies and developing CRM platforms for Entertainment Magpie Ltd.

Elected: 2017
Re-elected: 2020
Due for re-election: 2023


Ken Garner - Treasurer (Independent Trustee)

Details to follow. Appointed September 2020.





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