NICAS is run by a Board of Trustees and a staff team of four. 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 our schemes.
Our Trustees (Management Board)As of January 2023, our Board comprises:
  • Ian C B Taylor - Independent Trustee, Chair
  • Ken Garner - Independent Trustee, Treasurer
  • Juan Avendano - ABC-affiliated Trustee
  • Matt Bird - Independent Trustee
  • Rebecca Chong - Independent Trustee
  • Jon Chittenden - Independent Trustee
  • Jill Cowley - Independent Trustee
  • Rotimi Odukoya - Independent Trustee
  • Jeremy Tapping - ABC-affiliated Trustee

Our trustees in detail

Ian Taylor (Independent Trustee)

ian-cb-taylor-nicas-chair 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.

Ken Garner - Treasurer (Independent Trustee)

ken-garner-nicas-trustee An accountant with over 20 years' experience, after qualifying in an international practice Ken has gone on to hold numerous roles across a diverse range of industries, including the charitable sector.
Specialising in business development, change management and positive cultural progression within organisations, Ken is passionate about climbing in the hills and mountains of Great Britain.

Juan Avendano (ABC-affiliated Trustee)

juan-avendano-nicas-trustee Juan is a highly skilled, rational and caring performance coach and team manager, with a focus on participation, inclusion and youth development.
With 10 yrs experience working for Europe’s busiest climbing wall, and over 25 years experience as a climber, Juan has established a recognised profile within the UK climbing wall industry and a passion for developing new talent whilst working with the GB Development squad. The core principles that drive Juan are demonstrating an ethical approach to business, effective people management and stakeholder engagement.
Outside of climbing, Juan works within a mental health wellbeing setting where he has consulted on neuro-diversity and autism which enables him to identify and demonstrate the benefits climbing brings to clients. Juan looks forward to bringing his behavioural management and climbing expertise to enable NICAS to support engagement of hard to reach groups so they can access a lifetime of happy climbing experiences.

Matt Bird (Independent Trustee)

NICAS-Trustee-Matt-Bird Matt is the Director of Band of Birds: a Communications Agency providing Athlete Management, Content Capture and Communication services for brands with a specialism in climbing. Matt has over eight years experience in the outdoor industry, where he has led global communications campaigns, overseen the overall art direction for major photo and video projects as well as brokering commercial partnerships for some of the UK's leading climbing talent.
Matt works alongside multiple stakeholders at national and international level to run campaigns which promote climbing, brokering partnerships with global brands such as Red Bull, Adidas Terrex, Toyota and Aldi. Matt works closely with Shauna Coxsey MBE, managing her commercial and communication services as a part of her journey to the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and beyond and is responsible for other leading athlete talent such as Will Bosi and Max Milne.
Built off a lifelong love of the sport, Matt's work aims to communicate and promote climbing as inclusive, accessible and transformational for all of those who participate.

Rebecca Chong (Independent Trustee)

Photo of Rebecca Chong, NICAS Trustee Rebecca is a qualified solicitor with over 14 years' experience, including as a senior advisor for start-up and socially driven businesses across the advertising, FMCG, tech and games sectors.
As a keen climber and outdoors enthusiast who has started her Rock Climbing Instructor training, Rebecca is passionate about promoting the sport alongside respect for the environment, and bringing the sport and the ethics of outdoor climbing to new audiences.

Jon Chittenden (Independent Trustee)

jon-chittenden-nicas-trustee-crop Jon has a great depth of knowledge in both climbing and digital marketing. He is the Digital Marketing Manager for DMM, having similar roles at the BMC and musicMagpie. Jon also has experience running NICAS as a provider, when he was a wall owner and operator of Boulder Central and Portway Climbing Wall.

Jill Cowley (Independent Trustee)

jill-cowley-nicas-trustee As Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Faculty of Arts, Design and Humanities at De Montfort University, Jill’s role is a multi-faceted, strategic management role including planning and development, people management, academic leadership, financial and resource management and the development and communication of vision.
Jill leads curriculum development within the school, as well as being an external examiner for other Higher Education institutions. Her excellent understanding of the construction of curriculum, learning outcomes and assessment makes her able to build quality assured, higher education frameworks. Jill plays a prominent role at De Montford as Chair of their Equality, Diversity & Inclusion committee.
Jill is the mother of a NICAS Climbing Level 5 graduate, so she has a unique insight into both the life of a NICAS parent and learner, and the innumerable benefits that the schemes offer.

Rotimi Odukoya (Independent Trustee)

rotimi-odukoya-nicas-trustee Rotimi is the Founder of Clmbxr: a Climbing Community that encourages black and ethnic minorities to take up climbing through bi-weekly drop-in sessions.
Having established Clmbxr (Clmbxr means Climb X Rotimi) in 2019. He has led over 350+ people to discover and experience the sport for the first time.
Rotimi has secured major commercial partnerships and collaboration with brands such as Adidas, Nike, Samsung, Red bull and The North Face. Where he has provided Production resources and talent in many campaigns.
Alongside Clmbxr, Rotimi is employed as UI/UX designer and helps clients with wireframing, prototyping, design systems and user research.
Having a passion for community and sports, Rotimi's aims to inspire the next generation of climbers from the African and Caribbean diaspora.

Jeremy Tapping (ABC-affiliated Trustee)

jez-tapping-nicas-trustee Jez 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.

About our trustees and governance

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.

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 in April 2021 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.

Our Board is committed to following 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)

Interested in applying to become a Trustee? We usually seek applicants in late Spring or 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.
Technical ExpertsTechnical 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 and support visits to centres, and sometimes deliver training to coaches. Our Technical Experts are:

Click on each name to see their Mountain Training record.

Our Staff TeamAbbi BlakeyAfter a full review of our structure we are now set up to run with four 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.
  • Our Projects Manager, Abbi Blakey, started her role full time in April 2019 as Membership Manager. 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 our NICAS schemes.
  • Our Products Manager, Skinner, has delivered the NICAS schemes throughout the UK since 2008, was previously a Level 5 NICAS Course Director, and has been training other coaches as part of the NICAS Coach Development Team since 2018.
  • And our newest team member, Jen Rigby, joined us in June 2022 as Operations Co-ordinator.
Screening Committee The Screening Committee reviews new applications from climbing centres applying to become accredited to deliver NICAS, or looking to increase or "uplift" the scheme level that they deliver. Our Operations Co-ordinator, Jen Rigby, liaises between centres and the committee during the application process 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
  • Jon Chamberlain - NICAS Technical Advisor, member of CDT
Coach Development Team (CDT) The Coach Development Team are a team of highly skilled individuals, who deliver NICAS inductions and related training. Most have involvement with our schemes in their "other" work lives too.

  • Stephen Skinner - Products Manager, formerly 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
We have two ambassadors, mountaineer Kenton Cool and professional climber Hazel Findlay. Read more about their links with our schemes here.

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. See our Cookie Policy for further details on how to block cookies.
I am happy with this


What is a Cookie

A cookie, also known as an HTTP cookie, web cookie, or browser cookie, is a piece of data stored by a website within a browser, and then subsequently sent back to the same website by the browser. Cookies were designed to be a reliable mechanism for websites to remember things that a browser had done there in the past, which can include having clicked particular buttons, logging in, or having read pages on that site months or years ago.

NOTE : It does not know who you are or look at any of your personal files on your computer.

Why we use them

When we provide services, we want to make them easy, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your device, for example, your computer or mobile phone. These include small files known as cookies. They cannot be used to identify you personally.

These pieces of information are used to improve services for you through, for example:

  • recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don’t need to do it for every web page requested
  • measuring how many people are using services, so they can be made easier to use and there’s enough capacity to ensure they are fast
  • analysing anonymised data to help us understand how people interact with our website so we can make them better

You can manage these small files and learn more about them from the article, Internet Browser cookies- what they are and how to manage them

Learn how to remove cookies set on your device

There are two types of cookie you may encounter when using our site :

First party cookies

These are our own cookies, controlled by us and used to provide information about usage of our site.

We use cookies in several places – we’ve listed each of them below with more details about why we use them and how long they will last.

Third party cookies

These are cookies found in other companies’ internet tools which we are using to enhance our site, for example Facebook or Twitter have their own cookies, which are controlled by them.

We do not control the dissemination of these cookies. You should check the third party websites for more information about these.

Log files

Log files allow us to record visitors’ use of the site. The CMS puts together log file information from all our visitors, which we use to make improvements to the layout of the site and to the information in it, based on the way that visitors move around it. Log files do not contain any personal information about you. If you receive the HTML-formatted version of a newsletter, your opening of the newsletter email is notified to us and saved. Your clicks on links in the newsletter are also saved. These and the open statistics are used in aggregate form to give us an indication of the popularity of the content and to help us make decisions about future content and formatting.