Young people hoisting a sail on a tall ship

Have Your Say, Shape Our Project, Change Lives

Over the past three years, hundreds of young people have benefitted from funded voyages where they were able to learn lifeskills such as teamwork and communication, they improved their self-confidence, achieved Agored Cymru accreditation and learned about the environment by taking part in our shore-side programme and citizen science activities.

Our activities, which happen at sea and on land, have helped young people improve their employment prospects and are also evidenced to improve young people’s mental health. Take a look at some of our case studies! 

At the moment we are unable to sail due to Coronavirus but we are planning for the future and the part we will play in a post-Covid world.

So, how can you get involved and help us?

We are looking for 11 – 25 year olds. Challenge Wales is wanting to hear the views of young people to help us shape our next project to help 600 young people improve their employment prospects. Can you help share our short survey with young people aged 11 – 25 years? Perhaps you are a young person yourself and you have a few minutes to fill it in. Just click here to complete the survey.

Do you work with young people aged 11 – 25 years? You might be a group leader, a teacher or a home-schooling parent. If so, we have a different survey for you to complete. Just click here to complete our group leader survey.

To help group leaders, teachers and home-schooling networks to complete the survey with their pupils, students and young people we would love to join you for one of your virtual sessions. We just need 10 minutes of your time to do this to explain what the project is and to get your views. If you would like to take advantage of this and one of our team virtually visiting you then contact us by email or call 029 20 704 657 for more details.

Challenge Wales is an award-winning charity that changes the lives of young people by taking them to sea on Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship and Adventure Wales.

People folding up a sail on Challenge Wales
Challenge Wales guests sat at the Cardiff International White Water listening to speakers

Celebrating Voyages of Discovery

A three year project funded by The Big Lottery Community Fund Wales, Voyages of Discovery, which worked with some of the most disadvantaged young people in Wales was hailed a success and celebrated its achievements at a recent community celebration event.

Over three years, the sail training charity worked with no fewer than 500 young people, 100 volunteers and developed accredited learning with Agored Cymru in an innovative sail training programme.

Challenge Wales worked in partnership with 50 youth organisations throughout Wales to reach some of the most disadvantaged young people to give them lifeskills development opportunities.

Challenge Wales display showing quotes and images
Images and quotes from young people and group leaders were on display at the celebration event

“Challenge Wales took my son for a three day trip and he loved it, he came home happier than I seen him in a long time. He’s had his fair share of difficulties and programmes like Challenge Wales make such a difference to his quality of life. Thank you all.”

The Voyages of Discovery programme developed Agored Cymru accredited learning giving young people an opportunity to put something tangible onto their CV with the Environmental Project being launched by female Skipper Dee Caffari at the Volvo Ocean Race Stopover event in Cardiff in 2018. The programme not only saw young people improving their teamwork, confidence and social networks but an unexpected outcome of the project was evidenced improvements in young people’s mental health.

Young people who had been part of our Voyages of Discovery programme talked about how the programme had impacted their lives positively and inspired them. And, it was great to see how many young people had progressed back into education, employment, volunteering or onto Challenge Wales’ mainstream sail training programme.

Guests on the evening heard from our Youth Development Officer on how our programme had reached a diverse audience, a youth worker who had been amazed at the change in the young people and a volunteer who had worked with young people and had seen first hand how the young people had developed during their time onboard.

“We all had an amazing time onboard.  The young people gained a lot of valuable experience.  The crew members were AMAZING, so positive and reassuring with all of us.  They were inspirational!” Group Leader

The project was independently evaluated and evidenced in one young person that for every £1 invested, a benefit of £7.64 was seen! Yes, this project really did have an amazing impact!!

Thank you so much to everyone who was part of our Voyages of Discovery project, it has truly taken us on an amazing journey and thanks to Cardiff International White Water who hosted the event….. of course, we had to pick a venue with water close by!!!

Finally, a really big thank you to National Lottery players and the National Lottery Community Fund who enabled us to run and develop this programme.

You can read some of our case studies from our Voyages of Discovery programme on our website.

Challenge Wales volunteers on Barry Island beach doing a microplastics survey

Challenge Wales joins in with global microplastics survey

Plastic pollution is hidden and obvious and it’s impact on marine life and the environment is shocking. So when Challenge Wales had the opportunity to play its part in a collaborative global citizen science project, we jumped at it.

On a February weekend, our volunteers headed to the beach to play their part. With high-vis jackets donned, sieves and bits of rope in hand it was time to bring science to life.

Just One Ocean and the University of Portsmouth have set up the Big Microplastic Survey to understand more about the impact of micoplastics on the environment and marine life and the Challenge Wales charity is now another group around the world that are taking part in this scientific study.

Volunteers marked out the area to be sampled, took a sample of sand and using a sieve and some water separated the sand from the plastics. Although it was volunteers undertaking this first survey, it will be young people aged 12 – 25 years who will be driving it forward and taking part in future surveys.

Challenge Wales volunteers sampling for microplastics on Barry Island Beach

Last year Challenge Wales launched an accredited Agored Cymru Environmental Project with Volvo Ocean Race Skipper, Dee Caffari who was racing on Turn the Tide on Plastic. The charity is already part of a science project measuring plankton so the microplastic survey is a great addition to the environmental awareness work the charity is already doing.

Challenge Wales voyages range in duration from 1 – 14 days and visits different coastal regions around the UK and overseas so there will be lots of opportunities for young people and adults to contribute significantly to the Big Microplastics Survey in 2019 and beyond.

We’ve blown this image up to make it easier to see what we are looking at. Look carefully and amongst the natural debris you can see different coloured microplastic pieces and polystyrene

Not only is this new study bringing science to life but also helps numeracy and literacy skills as well as improving teamwork, communication and leadership development. This activity will be undertaken on both the charity’s vessels Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship and Adventure Wales.


The Agored Cymru Environmental Project was set up as part of the Charity’s ‘Voyages of Discovery’ programme which is funded by the Big Lottery Community Fund.
Adventure Wales has been supported by the European Regional Development Fund through Welsh Government and through the Social Business Growth Fund, which is managed by WCVA (Welsh Council of Voluntary Action).