Town centre business is aiming higher

Published: Wednesday 4 May 2022

on the right of the image a man is hanging by his hands on a climbing wall while swinging his foot to reach a new hold. In the background a large grafitti style sign reads Hang On

Reaching new heights is just part of the plan for a new business in South Lanarkshire.

With support from South Lanarkshire Council Hang On Climbing Centre in Hamilton is already proving a hit with locals and attracting new visitors to Hamilton town centre after converting an empty unit in a shopping centre into one of the country’s largest climbing gyms.

In recent years the sport of indoor climbing has rocketed from relative obscurity to become a popular hobby and fitness activity and Hang On has really put Hamilton on the map by creating one of Scotland’s biggest indoor climbing centres in one of the country’s best connected towns.

Hang On focuses on bouldering, climbing without ropes, and has a wide range of climbing walls to encourage beginners and challenge experts. All with plenty of cushioned mats to protect climbers in the event of a fall.

Hang On contacted the South Lanarkshire Council Economic Development Team early in the development of the business. In addition to advice and guidance the start-up received a South Lanarkshire Business Support Grant of £8000 towards the purchase of specialist equipment for the climbing centre.

The Economic Development Team also helped with referrals to other council departments, such as Planning & Building Control, and to Business Gateway Lanarkshire for further expert assistance.

The first few years for any business can be the hardest and getting Hang On of the ground during the pandemic added to the challenge for the family run firm.

Doug Meyerhoff says the council support helped the business to get off the ground. He said: “It has been a tough few years for everyone. For us being in this business together as a family helped us keep going though the pandemic, but I won’t deny that support measures for business including grants from the council were a big help too.

“As we as a community start to really focus on recovery, I am confident that Hang On delivers something unique enough to bring in the business we need but also to deliver a wider benefit by increasing footfall for surrounding town centre businesses.”

SLC Head of Planning and Economic Development Pauline Elliot said: “Hang On brings a new destination attraction to the heart of a traditional town centre and in addition to being a great asset for Hamilton and South Lanarkshire perhaps also adds a new element to the discussion about how the well documented difficulties facing high streets across the country can be met.

“Hang On is already attracting interest from across Scotland and with their first anniversary climbing competition they are aiming to bring visitors from further afield, but at its core as a business it offers local people easy access to an exciting and healthy activity that is rapidly growing in popularity.”

South Lanarkshire Council’s Economic Development service provides support and advice to businesses to help with start-ups, development and growth.

Matt Meyerhoff said: “You could say indoor climbing really came of age when it was included as an Olympic Sport for Tokyo 2020 now we are aiming for the top as the pandemic recovery continues.

“As a family business we are really keen to be seen as part of the community. We are a living wage employer and want to develop ideas such as autism friendly sessions to increase access to the sport of indoor climbing as a leisure activity, fitness regime or as a competitive sport.”

South Lanarkshire Business Support Grant is the operational name for the South Lanarkshire element of Business Competitiveness Grant Support - Lanarkshire, which is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and delivered and part funded by North and South Lanarkshire Councils.