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Take a Leap of Faith & Abseil Down the Portland Building

· Ali Turner · Culture

Ever tried abseiling? Now’s your chance.

Leeds Cares Abseil

Leeds Cares is the charity partner of Leeds Teaching Hospitals. From funding MR Scanners to supporting play specialists, they’re helping to make healthcare exceptional for everyone. Find out more...

Calling all adrenaline junkies – how would you like to abseil down the Portland Building at Leeds Beckett?

Imagine standing on top of the Portland Building, looking at the 35-metre drop below, before stepping off the side? Would you be scared, nervous or exhilarated? You can find out on Sunday 2nd December 2018, because Leeds Cares has teamed up with Carnegie Great Outdoors to put on a special seasonal abseil. Santa suits at the ready, this is going to be fun.

The experience

Abseil Leeds

Carnegie Great Outdoors

The Portland Building is right in the heart of the city. It’s a 1960s concrete block, so it’s a totally different experience from abseiling down a rock face or a climbing wall. You’ll take the lift up the first nine floors, before walking the final two to reach the rooftop, where they’ll kit you out in safety gear and give you a chance to practice with the control ropes.

“Whether you’re afraid of heights or not, when you look over the edge, that 35-metre drop will always seem higher than it is,” Seb Kulikovsky, Operations Manager for Carnegie Great Outdoors, told us. “But it’s not hard, anybody can come and have a go.”

This is definitely more of a mental challenge than a physical one. You’ll have to step up onto the wall and lower yourself over the precipice with nothing but a safety rope between you and the ground. That’s the hardest part – trusting in the kit, trusting in the team and taking a leap of faith. But it’s plain sailing from there – you’re in control, so you can go down slowly and take it all in, or whizz to the bottom for the buzz.

“I’ve done a lot of abseiling over the years, on natural rock faces, this building and bigger ones, but no matter how many times you’ve done it, going over the edge will always get the heart racing,” Kulikovsky confessed. “I don’t think that adrenaline or that nervous feeling ever goes away, no matter how many times you do it.”

The cause

Leeds Cares

Credit: Nick Eagle

The adrenaline rush isn’t the only reason to do it. You’ll also be helping to raise money for a great cause. Leeds Cares is the charity partner of Leeds Teaching Hospitals and they help to support them in their mission to make healthcare better for everyone.

Their work is far-reaching – they’ve helped fund specialist equipment like the Hybrid Cardiac Theatre and Intra-Operative 3T MRI Scanner that’s helped to revolutionise the way we treat brain and spine tumours, as well as supporting clinical research and introducing a team of play therapists for young cancer patients. Now they’re raising £2.4 million for a new MR Simulator that will improve radiotherapy outcomes by giving specialists access to more accurate imaging. You can choose to put your money towards that, earmark it for something specific like Leeds Children’s Hospital, or allow them to spend it where it’s needed most.

This abseil could go a long way towards helping them make a difference. Places are limited, but right now they have about 50 left. They’re hoping to raise a massive £14,000 through the event. How? By asking everyone who takes part to raise at least £150 for Leeds Cares. In return, you’ll get an incredible experience, as well as mince pies and refreshments for you and your supporters after the event.

The Leeds Cares Down the Chimney Abseil runs from 11am to 4pm on Sunday 2nd December 2018. It’s just £15 if you register before 31st October 2018 with the code CARES18 or £25 if you register after that date. Festive attire is positively encouraged.