That Winning Feel for Adventure Wales Crew

At the Crew Awards Ceremony at the Tall Ships Races, Dublin,it was announced that Adventure Wales had won 3rd in Class, the ‘Youngest Crew’ Award and won a prize in the Gaelic sports inter-crew sporting activities.

This was an amazing achievement following winning the Environmental Award a few days earlier.

The Adventure Wales crew had come together as an amazing team. Less than a week ago they had met in Liverpool for the first time with most not knowing anyone else. Some daunted by what was ahead of them, some excited but all of them up for making the most of what this voyage was going to throw at them. Aged between 17 and 24 they worked in watches throughout the night, cooked, cleaned and sailed the boat with some not having sailed before. In Dublin, you would have thought the young people had known each other for years, sharing jokes, hanging out together, making the most of Dublin and the experience….but that is what sail training is all about; developing the team and shaping those that embrace the opportunity.

And, embracing the opportunity is what happened.

When the race started in Liverpool, Adventure Wales was someway behind the rest of the fleet, but slowly and surely edged towards the front of the fleet. Upwind the boat sailed well but a patch of light airs and then downwind sailing meant Adventure Wales couldn’t keep up with the better downwind boats. But even so at the awards ceremony, attended by the Lord Mayor of Dublin, it was announced that Adventure Wales had won Third in Class. But that wasn’t all!  The Adventure Wales team won ‘The Youngest Crew’ award, awarded to the crew. And, it was well done to one of our young people, Ben, who had won the Best Ball Catcher prize in the Gaelic Games inter-crew sporting activities that happened earlier in the day.

Really proud of their achievements and making memories that will last a lifetime, Adventure Wales will depart Dublin tomorrow with the same trainees who first jumped onboard in Liverpool. After the Parade of Sail out of Dublin they will sail non-stop back to Cardiff.


Our next Tall Ships Race will be on Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship in July/August 2018 as we race from Sunderland (UK) to Esbjerg (Denmark) to Stavanger (Norway) to Harlingen (Netherlands) and then homeward bound to Gosport (UK) then Cardiff. If you are aged 18 – 75 you can join us for our delivery/milebuilder voyage from Gosport to Sunderland, while the Tall Ships Races and homeward bound voyages are suitable for those aged 16 – 25 years Read more: http://challengewales.org/sailing/tall-ships/

Adventure Wales has been supported by the European Regional Development Fund through Welsh Government.

Adventure Wales Wins Environment Award

Not only has it been our first voyage in Adventure Wales but she has picked up her first award too!

It’s been a week of firsts for Adventure Wales. Her first proper voyage adventuring around the Welsh coast and into England, her first visit to Neyland in West Wales,, her first visit to Aberystwyth, her first visit to Pwllhelli, her first visit to the City of Liverpool, her first group of trainees onboard, her first Tall Ships event but the icing on the cake was being publicly told at the Tall Ships awards ceremony in Liverpool  that Adventure Wales had won the Environment Award. YAY!!!!

The Challenge Wales charity has put sustainability at the heart of its sail training programme. A few years ago the charity started measuring plankton as part of a global citizen science project, we’ve had microscopes onboard looking at what is under the surface of the water, we’ve looked at our own recycling systems onboard our vessels, identified how we can link into other marine action plans to help the environment, we’re currently waiting for our first order of reusable water bottles to give every young person as we aim to ban one-use water bottles coming onboard (this creates a great talking point with young people and adult guests onboard) and more recently we have developed an accredited learning programme around an environmental project which we hope will inspire our young people to help us all do our bit for the planet.

Adventure Wales in the Tall Ships Crew Parade (Pic courtesy of Sail Training International | Valery Vasilevsky)

The Environmental Award was won by Adventure Wales for its environmental commitment and is a great recognition for the environmental focus the vessel and the charity have taken.

Sail Training International Race Director, Paul Bishop said: “Protecting the marine environment is more important today than it ever has been with the immense levels of plastic pollution in all the world’s oceans today. The Environmental Award went to a vessel which has environmental stewardship education as part of their on board training.”

As a charity it is great for Adventure Wales to be recognised publicly for the work that the Challenge Wales charity is doing in this area.

And this award couldn’t have come at a better time!!! In a couple of days time the Volvo Ocean Race fleet races into Cardiff and on 31st May we are welcoming Dee Caffari, Skipper of Turn the Tide on Plastic onboard Challenge Wales that will be moored within the Volvo Ocean Race village. Although we are wanting to talk to her about our sustainability actions and of course our newly won Environment Award, we can’t wait to ask her about her adventures and ask her some questions too!!

The Tall Ships Regatta, organised by Sail Training International, brings young people from all over Europe together in a spectacular youth and cultural event and the young people onboard Adventure Wales will be representing Wales and the UK. Adventure Wales will race with the fleet before returning back to Penarth on the 5th June 2018.  The race starts in Liverpool and when the event took place previously around a million people turned out for the four-day festive maritime extravaganza.


Read about our sustainability activities here…

Adventure Wales has been supported by the European Regional Development Fund through Welsh Government.

‘Amazing’ Win at Business Awards

On Thursday 17th May, we headed off to the Zokit SpringConf and little did we know that later we would be walking away with an award!

These awards were a bit different to other award events that we had attended as it was an event focussed on networking, collaboration, finding new contacts, generating new ideas and learning and it was certainly and action-packed busy day….with the awards being thrown in to recognise some amazing businesses, and their achievements, in the room.

Challenge Wales was shortlisted as a finalist in two categories; Outstanding Contribution and Amazing Space.

And, we walked away as winners of the Amazing Space category. This was perhaps a category that we wondered if we were worthy enough to be shortlisted in but I guess not many venues can drop anchor in different parts of the UK, enable companies to support the development of young people through team building activities and have such a strong charitable mission.

So why did we win?

The lead judges of the category, Shed Marketing (in Cardiff) said;  “We feel that Challenge Wales is a totally amazing and unique space and most certainly has the Wow factor.  It gives guests an amazing experience and also helps young people to engage back into society and build up their confidence.  It’s a great venue for events and team building exercises …and what a great place to do it – across the seas!”

Neil Lloyd, Director of Zokit added: “I’m delighted that the judging panel agreed that Challenge Wales are very worthy winners of the Amazing Space Award. They truly create a fantastic, interactive and dynamic environment from which they can achieve their aims of changing lives through adventure and outdoor learning.”

Trustee of Challenge Wales, Vicky with Matt from Shed Marketing, one of the judges

This is an amazing piece of good news we’ll be sharing with our volunteers and stakeholders and a great achievement and recognition for the team. Thank you!!


 

Success for Challenge Wales at Awards

On Friday 9th March 2018, a couple of Challenge Wales volunteers were at the South Wales Business Growth Awards in Cardiff Bay. It was time to leave the scruffy deck shoes and jeans at home and put on smart shoes and posh clothes.

The South Wales Business Awards recognise the amazing achievements of businesses in South Wales (as the name obviously  suggests!), many of them small, many of them innovative, many of them you probably wouldn’t recognise or have heard of but all of them making a difference to the Welsh economy.

Challenge Wales was excited to be shortlisted as a finalist in not one but two categories: People Development and Innovation. Having won the People Development category the previous year we knew it would be difficult with such fantastic businesses in the room to win it again but as always with Award events everyone was very optimistic about winning.

The evening also gave us an opportunity to network amongst some businesses we were already getting to know and were supportive of Challenge Wales. Relationship building is really important to Challenge Wales.

Amazingly, Challenge Wales picked up two Highly Commended Awards (yay) in both the People Development Category AND the Innovation Category. It means a lot to be recognised in the business world for our achievements and our impact, it is great recognition for our volunteers who work tirelessly to help the charity. Winning an award is a great talking point when we go to meetings, it’s a fantastic opportunity to share success amongst our stakeholders and our young people’s groups and funders.

As with most events, there is a ‘financial cost’ to us attending awards however, before we ever book our attendance at any awards event we balance up the benefits. The value and support that we get from being part of the South Wales business networking group which the awards are part of certainly outweighs the cost, and it is this networking group that has introduced us to so many other local businesses who have gone on to support Challenge Wales both directly with fundraising or in-kind with support to help us successfully achieve our charity objectives. These kind of relationships make everyone a winner!



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.