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.