Caption: Back, from the left, Chris Hartley and Ben Prior. Front, Cllr Jim O’Boyle and Keely Hancox

A Coventry climbing wall business is looking to scale new heights after investing in future success.

The Ballroom Climbing Wall opened in the former Leofric Hotel in Coventry city centre five years ago and was growing steadily until the pandemic hit and then, like all other attractions, was forced to close.

It’s now back up and running and attracting more visitors per day than it was pre-pandemic for its specialist bouldering wall, which is low to the ground climbing without ropes or harnesses.

The business has received help from business advisors at the Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce as part of the Coventry City Council-led Coventry Creative Growth & Cultural Tourism Recovery Programme, which is funded by the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund, through the West Midlands Combined Authority.  The programme is, is supporting creative, tourism and hospitality business across Coventry, and the development of new employment and training opportunities in these sectors.


The Ballroom Climbing Wall was given specialist, one-to-one advice and, as a result, it has added a new member of staff to the team and also invested £30,000 into improvements of the venue, including general upgrades, a stronger food and beverage offer, and more opportunities for younger children to use the facility, which would expand its customer base and income streams.

The Ballroom Climbing Wall is run by brothers Ben and Sam Prior who opted to open in Coventry five years ago when they had the idea to start the business.

“I was an accountant and my brother was a physiotherapist but we had a passion for climbing,” said Ben.

“We decided we wanted to open our own climbing wall venue and chose Coventry even though I was living in Cambridge and Sam was living in Oxford.

“We felt it was something we could really grow in the city and that was happening – then Covid struck, so we had to close.”

He added: “Once we were able to reopen, we really wanted to grow and invest in the future.

“We found out about the support available through the Chamber and it has been a major help.

“Getting one-to-one advice and being able to look at how we could grow was invaluable. It has meant we can make around £30,000 of investment into improving the venue and look at how we grow the customer-base.

“We worked with a business advisor, Chris Hartley, who was great at offering a different perspective, as well as offer us introductions to contacts within the city. We’re members of the Chamber too and are using that for networking opportunities to help spread the word.”

Chris said: “It has been great to work with the Ballroom Climbing Wall. There are so many opportunities for growth and I was able to offer advice on the best avenues to take, in order for them to emerge from the pandemic in a strong way.

“We’d love to talk to more businesses to help offer advice and support, which is good for the individual companies but also the regional economy.”

Councillor Jim O’Boyle, Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change, added: “It’s always good news for the city and economy when local businesses thrive. It’s really important that we encourage businesses to grow, which creates jobs and attracts more visitors into the city centre which is a win-win for everyone. I’m really glad to hear that businesses are getting the support they need to succeed.”

The Chamber has a variety of business support programmes on offer, from support individuals to start up, to helping businesses grow and diversify as well as specialist programmes to support sectors, such as helping Coventry-based creative businesses and freelancers.

Advice includes one-to-one support, and a range of workshops and masterclasses, including digital marketing, social media and maximising the impact of business websites.