Another award for Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship

It was the end to a busy week in Challenge Wales Towers. But what a week it became!

Our first residential of the season was about to start, a 9 day voyage from Cardiff to Lymington on the South Coast. Volunteer crew were getting ready to arrive, the boat had been prepped: fuelled, food onboard, cleaned. Paperwork had been prepared, marinas liaised with in preparation of our visit and emails & phone calls made to marine-based organisations who were also helping us with an educational element to our voyage.  Throw in some forecasted bad weather and contingency plans and yes, it was a busy week.

But before the voyage started there was one evening to be had. It was the South Wales Business Growth Awards 2017 and what was great about this was that Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship had been shortlisted as a finalist in not just one, but two categories: Innovation AND People Development.  To be a finalist is fantastic news and a great achievement for us. To be a finalist in two categories was amazing!

The Innovation Category  recognises companies who have successfully created innovative products or processes that make a difference – either by developing something new or delivering a significant improvement. There was tough competition and Challenge Wales didn’t win this. However, it was a different story for the People Development category.

The People Development award recognises businesses who put people at the heart of everything they do, enabling and inspiring their team through professional and personal development opportunities and support.  The host of the evening went up on stage with a gold envelope in hand, she leaned forward and said “And, the winner of the People Development Award is…….Challenge Wales”.

Trustees Vicky Williams and Andy Hall accept the award at the Business Growth Awards

WOW!! It was an amazing evening and a brilliant end to the week.

And, what does winning the People Development Award mean?

It is fantastic that a small charity like Challenge Wales gets recognition amongst the business world. It is great that judges have felt we were worthy winners. It is all about those special moments when we see young people develop confidence and skills they didn’t think they had, it is inspiring when we hear that someone we have helped has gone into employment as a result of our programme. But this award wasn’t just about the young people we help but the work we also do to develop volunteers …and it’s our volunteers who make the charity what it is and who have helped us to get this award.

…And then 36 hours later it was a quick change from black tie and posh frocks to deck shoes and waterproof clothes and getting ready for the first youth development college voyage of the year.


If you want to develop your skills with Challenge Wales and are aged 16 – 26 years then get in touch about our residential sail training voyages. If you want to develop yourself as a volunteer, then check our out volunteering pages on our website for more details. Younger than 16 years then join us on our shorter voyages.

The People Development award is the second award to be won in 2017 by Challenge Wales having won “UK Sail Training Vessel of the Year” in January – the highest award in the sail training industry.

Challenge Wales wins UK Sail Training Vessel of The Year Award

We are excited to announce that Challenge Wales, Wales’ Tall Ship, has been awarded the UK Sail Training Vessel of the Year by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO) at an industry conference in Southampton.

The award is given to a vessel which has had an exceptional year and has fulfilled both the Sail Training aspirations of ASTO plus the seamanship and safety requirements for the MCA. The award looks at good management, the sail training programme, innovations in the types of young people groups working with us, maintenance management and how results are measured.

For Challenge Wales to win this award is a fantastic accolade to our volunteers, who donate so much of their time to volunteer with us, supporters and staff and a great start to 2017.  YAY!!!!!

Sir Alan Massey (left), CEO of MCA presenting award to Vicky Williams and Andy Hall from Challenge Wales. Pic credit: Max Mudie / ASTO

Challenge Wales works with a wide range of groups and in 2016 has developed its sail training programme to include accreditation in Teamwork. Sail training opportunities are available for those aged 12 – 25 years regardless of their background. Challenge Wales works with young people in schools, colleges and as part of their DofE Award, and also works with those who are particularly disadvantaged and need additional support to jump aboard.

Challenge Wales announced as finalist in South Wales Business Growth Awards

Being a charity means working hard all year round to continue to make a difference. Recruiting and training volunteers, identifying funding sources, planning and delivering fundraising activities, undertaking strategic planning sessions to ensure we are on target towards our vision while understanding external influences outside our control can impact at any moment, working with beneficiaries and youth workers to ensure what we do is meeting the needs of the young people, evidencing activities and report writing for funders, developing ideas, consulting with stakeholders to name a few …..it’s ongoing.

Young carers working towards their Youth Achievement Award on Challenge Wales.

Young carers working towards their Youth Achievement Award on Challenge Wales.

As a visual charity (if you haven’t seen it, we have a big boat), that involves sail training on what is probably Wales’ largest sailing boat and sail training vessel quite often it can be forgotten in what is going on behind the scenes and what it takes to develop our volunteers and develop young people to improve their employment prospects and be seen as leading the way and an authority in sail training.

So it is always a fantastic feeling when we get told we are finalists for an award. As a young charity, it hasn’t happened all that often to be honest, but what a great feeling it was today when we were told we were finalists in not just one, but two categories in the South Wales Business Growth Awards. YAY!!!!

          

The Awards recognise and celebrate achievements across nine key areas of business growth and Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship is pleased to be shortlisted as a finalist in the Innovation category and the People Development category. Our excitement levels at Challenge Wales HQ are bubbling over, we feel delighted that the hard work of our volunteers, our innovative approach to learning, our positive can-do attitude directed at everyone regardless of their background and ability to improve someone’s own development is being recognised.

Youth development voyages on Challenge Wales

Youth development voyages on Challenge Wales

Sail training is often seen as people just sailing a boat but it is so much more than that; it is empowering, it is about developing teamwork and communication skills, it is about developing leaders, it is using decision making and planning skills, time keeping skills, it is about personal development and improving self-confidence. It is about improving social skills, understanding Welsh culture, wildlife, sustainability, it is about reflecting on one’s life before the voyage and reflection during the voyage in what can be a challenging situation and putting the skills learnt into an everyday situation. It’s about broadening horizons, giving people opportunities, putting a life-changing experience onto a CV. It’s about fun and camaraderie and meeting people from different parts of Wales, the UK and the World and understanding new cultures.  It’s also a nice link that Challenge Wales has been nominated for a business award and we are helping young people to develop skills to help them to get employment. We talked about the above in a previous blog post talked about “What price do you put on a life-changing experience.” It’s certainly worth a quick read!

 

Dophins swimming alongside Challenge Wales

Dolphin Watching off West Wales onboard Challenge Wales. The charity is also part of a Citizen Science [climate change] project to measure plankton levels using onboard equipment

It is great to be a finalist in what is often dominated by commercial companies, who aren’t charities themselves. Even small charities, like us, should be shouting about what they do and their individual successes (even when human resources are really limited!) as being shortlisted can only help raise awareness of the work they do.
Being shortlisted for an award is a fantastic end to a fantastic Challenge Wales year!


The announcement of the finalists of the South Wales Business Growth Awards 2017 will be on Thursday 2nd March 2017 in Cardiff.