Challenge Wales Nominated For Youth Work Excellence Award

We’re excited to announce that we’ve been nominated for an award in the Equality and Diversity category of the Welsh Government’s Youth Work Excellence Award 2020.

The awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding youth work projects that are taking place across Wales and changing lives for the better. It’s a really nice surprise to be nominated as there are so many other deserving youth organisations doing fantastic work, like us.

Challenge Wales’ project ‘Voyages of Discovery’ has been nominated which worked with a diverse range of young people giving them life skills development opportunities plus accreditation – something tangible for a CV which many participants had originally thought was out of their reach.

The ‘Voyages of Discovery’ project aligned with a number of initiatives, policies and plans at local, national and UK government level including, in particular, the Welsh Government’s Wellbeing of Future Generations Act (2015). The Project was also relevant to Welsh Government’s Charter for Youth Work in particular the statement that all young people in Wales are entitled to easy access to “opportunities to take part in outdoor adventure and in residential and international experiences”.

The young people taking part in Challenge Wales’ sail training activities were aged 14 – 25 years and included those with learning difficulties, and/or disabilities; young people living in areas of high unemployment and from inner cities; unemployed and NEET; Care leavers; those who were homeless or in supported housing; In care/Local Authority Care; those with mental health issues; Welsh speakers; those whose first language was not English; cultural/ethnic minorities; LGBTQ+ community members; Young Carers; those with long term health issues; substance misusers; those based in rural areas with access to few opportunities; those with a parent in prison and young offenders. Challenge Wales differs from many other youth organisations in that the charity works across a diverse mix of young people rather than focussing on one or two areas paralleled with a learning environment at sea makes Challenge Wales one of the most unique learning and youth work settings in Wales.

As one youth worker said: “The group was put together because of low self-esteem, lack of confidence. Being part of a team sailing Challenge Wales has enabled the group to believe in themselves that they can do and will do activities outside of their comfort zones….a positive outcome”.

Being nominated for the award, and recognised that we are playing a big part in youth work, is a fantastic testament to our amazing volunteers who tirelessly give up their time to work with these amazing young people and help focus them onto new horizons in a positive way.

We’ll be keeping our fingers crossed to see if we have won. Winners will be announced from 3.00pm on Friday 9th October 2020 on the Welsh Governments Education Wales You Tube Channel here.

Virtual Tall Ships Race Sets Sail

The spectacle of the Tall Ships is even better when you are at sea in amongst them. This year, Challenge Wales would once again be representing Wales and the UK at the International Tall Ships Races but due to coronavirus she’s set sail virtually.

The Tall Ships Races have partnered with the virtual racing simulator sailonline so now, virtually, we can complete each leg of the 2020 postponed Tall Ships Races.

From Lisbon we will race to Cadiz, up to ACoruna and then finishing at Dunkirk.

Virtual Tall Ships Racing brings you the competition and fun of a real race all from the comfort of your armchair. The race plays out in real time, 24/7 with the same weather conditions and although we can’t set our sails for real we will be looking at how we can get the best performance out of the boat.

So, if you want to be Skipper of your own boat you can sign up free of charge to take part. Just remember to click on the Tall Ships Races 2020 race! If you want to just watch what’s going on then visit www.sailonline.org and sign in using guest (all lower case) as your username and password. This is the first time we have used this virtual racing platform but once we got to grips with it, and could see the results of all the boats alongside the map which shows their position, it is quite addictive.

And, don’t forget, if you are cheering for Challenge Wales or Adventure Wales in the virtual Tall Ships Races on social media don’t forget to tag us in using #VTSR2020 and @ChallengeWales plus include the hashtag of which boat you are cheering on; #AdventureWales or #ChallengeWales

2 Minutes To Make A Difference

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has stopped many smaller charities in their tracks. But you can make a difference to Challenge Wales today, by nominating the charity for a £1,000 grant.

Challenge Wales needs 2 minutes of your time to help us get a grant from Movement for Good and your nomination will really count.

You will be nominating Challenge Wales for a chance to win a £1,000 grant to enable us to help young people improve their education, life skills and employability prospects. At this time, £1,000 will really make a big difference to Challenge Wales and the life-changing work we undertake with young people.

Nominating Challenge Wales couldn’t be easier:
* Visit: https://www.movementforgood.com/#nominateACharity
* Nominate ‘Challenge Wales’ using our Charity Number: 1111859

Your nomination could be the one that helps us win the £1,000 grant! By the way, you can only enter once (per email address)!

The more nominations we get, the greater our chance of winning, so please spread the word.

Nominations close on Sunday 24th May 2020, so we encourage you to vote as soon as possible. It will cost you nothing to help us, except 2 minutes of your time to nominate us.

Thank you so much for your support 🙂

The impact of an Easter voyage

From being unemployed and spending hours alone in his bedroom to moving into work and then to college. We take a look back on one of our young people who jumped onboard an Easter voyage a few years ago and how his life took a different tack afterwards.

This voyage has stayed with us for many years and is often talked about when we are getting people to understand the impact of our work. When we talk to funders, to supporters, to donors, to volunteers, to parents, to group leaders….it is this inspiring story that has been one of our special ‘wow’ moments. And, that encourages us to keep doing what we are doing.

‘Luke’ was 18 when he jumped onboard one of our residential voyages. Like many of our trips, he didn’t know anyone else who would be his fellow crewmates. Those jumping onboard were coming onboard for their own, and very different, reasons. Something different to do, wanting an adventure, five days of learning about the local environment, a way of completing their DofE Gold Residential, a way to become a young volunteer, an opportunity to do something new. The reasons are often always different but that doesn’t matter. Everyone is in the same boat…meeting new people and doing something that is out of their comfort zone.

On this occasion, we knew very little about ‘Luke’ and it was only several months after the voyage that this amazing story started piecing itself together…and continues to do so.

Luke was unemployed and lived with his grandmother. He lacked self-motivation, had anger management issues and spent many hours alone at home. Luke hadn’t talked for two years, didn’t have many friends and his Youth Worker wasn’t sure if Luke would be able to hold down a full-time job. His youth worker booked him onto our voyage and after stepping onboard Challenge Wales, it wouldn’t be long until Luke and his fellow shipmates would be out at sea on their own personal adventure.

So, what was the impact of this voyage on one young person?

While onboard, Luke talked for the first time in two years and the onboard daily activities helped improve his communication skills. Post voyage, Luke was keen to get a job. At his first job interview, he talked passionately about the impact of sail training and although he didn’t get this job, the knockback didn’t stop him. Within 6 months Luke was holding down a job…something his youth worker didn’t expect him to do. When we last recently spoke to the youth worker who still knows Luke, we were told he was studying for a business degree.

The impact though was wider than just Luke and had a bigger impact on the community and you can read our case study for the full story. The impact was wider than we could have imagined. Over the years we’ve been learning why we get the results we do; why there is improved mental health, improved teamwork skills, improved communication skills. It’s because the learning environment is unique, is challenging, is inspiring, is digital-detoxing, is amongst the natural environment.

We love sharing our impact and if you’ve been on one of our voyages and want to let us know what happened afterwards then we’d love to talk to you!

For more case studies visit our website.

Black Friday With A Charitable Difference

Imagine sailing by the stars, experiencing fresh air that smells of the sea and having a digital detox. That’s what one of our Black Fridays feels like…

With Christmas adverts bombarding our TV screens and sponsored adverts appearing on our social media feeds it is easy to get overwhelmed and go with the flow at this time of year. Buying things that are here today and broken / fed up with / superseded (delete as necessary) tomorrow.

So what makes our Black Fridays different?

Our Black Fridays incorporate being at sea, on a boat in sometimes an unknown situation with unknown people. It’s an experience…and that’s the big difference!

The food was delicious, the conversation was hilarious, the activity was amazing / challenging / fun (delete again as necessary), the guests onboard were interesting with their own tales to tell, the weather was perfect, we learnt new things etc. The whole experience creates memories that you can look back on and talk about in the future. The experience connects you with other people who are experiencing the same thing as you. Being outdoors improves mental health (we have independently evaluated this aspect to prove this through our Voyages of Discovery programme) and with different people, crew and weather….yep, every experience with us is different.

Surely collecting experiences, and saying ‘I did that!’ can be better in the long term than collecting materialistic things.

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Challenge Wales runs a variety of voyages for young people and adults aged 12 – 85 years. With a one day voyage costing £95 (as at Nov 2019) and with profits going to support disadvantaged young people to develop their employability skills through sailing, an experience with us can truly be life-changing. Gift vouchers are available!

Tall Ships Racing 2018

Nominate someone for a Tall Ships adventure

Challenge Wales is on the hunt for four deserving young people to take up a fully funded place in the spectacular Tall Ships Races 2019, and is encouraging those aged  15 – 25 years to apply.

The award-winning charity operates a small bursary scheme to subsidise UK residents to take part in its activities however, extra funding from the Cardiff Round Table this year is enabling Challenge Wales to offer four fully funded places, to those living in a CF postcode area across three of the Tall Ships legs this summer which will race in Denmark and Norway.  You can find out more by reading our Tall Ships Races Information pack.

Fully funded berths are going to be offered to those young people who are nominated and are truly deserving of a place onboard for an amazing life-changing adventure. Young people can nominate themselves or ask a teacher, parent/guardian, employer, relative or group leader to nominate them.

Successful applicants will be joining the rest of the crew and racing against other Tall Ships from the international Tall Ships fleet and will be representing Wales and the UK at these spectacular events, and no sailing experience is required to take part.

The charity is looking for young people who are wanting an adventure and are up for a challenge. Those taking part are actively running the boat, so it’s not just sailing but also cooking, cleaning and working in watches! There is lots of fun onboard too and there is a host of shore-side inter-crew activities organised as well at the end of the race.

How To Apply:

Anyone aged 15 – 25 years can contact us themselves to apply but we are also encouraging teachers, colleagues, employees, group leaders, parents and friends to nominate others, aged 15 – 25, for this opportunity who might benefit. Perhaps someone has been working hard for exams or at work and needs a break, maybe someone has had a tough few months, it might be someone who hasn’t been able to have a holiday for a few years or someone who would enjoy an adventure, challenge and experiencing new cultures. Applicants must have a valid passport.
You can download an application form here or get an application form / further details by emailing the Challenge Wales office reservations@challengewales.org  or call 029 20 704 657.

Deadline for applications is 15th May 2019.


A CF postcode area is found in Wales and is a group of postcode districts around Aberdare, Bargoed, Barry, Bridgend, Caerphilly, Cardiff, Cowbridge, Dinas Powys, Ferndale, Hengoed, Llantwit Major, Maesteg, Merthyr Tydfil, Mountain Ash, Penarth, Pentre, Pontyclun, Pontypridd, Porth, Porthcawl, Rhoose, Sully, Tonypandy, Treharris, Treorchy.
Successful applicants will need to write a voyage report and blog about their time onboard the boat and be available for publicity as well as completing before and after voyage surveys. Challenge Wales works hard to secure funding for its activities and any person awarded funding is required to write a thank you to the funder. There is a £35 refundable deposit to reserve a berth, this is refunded after the voyage.

As with all our voyages, our booking terms and conditions apply.

Other bursary funding is available for  UK residents for Tall Ships Racing if you are not eligible for the above and you should email Challenge Wales to see what funding is available or read our Bursaries page.

If you are a company or charity wishing to support young people to take part in other postcode areas/regions then please contact the Challenge Wales office to discuss this opportunity.

We’re Recruiting | Rydym Yn Recriwtio

Challenge Wales is currently looking to appoint new members (unpaid) to the Board of Trustees to enable the charity to continue to develop & innovate and provide many more life-changing opportunities for young people over the coming years.

We particularly welcome candidates who will bring onboard skills in Fundraising, Marine Operations, Law, Recruitment, Environmental / Sustainability or additional diversity to the existing Board.

Could this be you?

Trustee Role Description and Person Specification
Deadlines:
10th February 2019 and role(s) will remain open is suitable candidate(s) aren’t found.
How to applyEmail your completed Application Form (Rev4) and covering letter, which should detail your suitability.

 

 

Mae Her Cymru yn gobeithio penodi aelodau newydd (di-dâl) i Fwrdd yr Ymddiriedolwyr i alluogi’r elusen i barhau i ddatblygu ac arloesi a darparu rhagor o gyfleoedd a fydd yn newid bywydau pobl ifanc dros y blynyddoedd i ddod.

Rydym yn arbennig o awyddus i groesawu ymgeiswyr a fydd yn dod â sgiliau Codi Arian, Cyfreithiol, Recriwtio, Amgylcheddol / Cynaliadwyedd, neu amrywiaeth ychwanegol i’r Bwrdd presennol.

Ai chi yw’r person hwn?

Disgrifiad Rôl a Manyleb Person yr Ymddiriedolwr
Dyddiadau cau
: 10 Chwefror 2019, a bydd y rôl/rolau yn parhau i fod ar agor os nad oes ymgeisydd/ ymgeiswyr addas
Sut i ymgeisio: E-bostiwch eich cais wedi’i chwblhau  (Rev4) a llythyr eglurhaol, a ddylai nodi eich addasrwydd.

2018 – A Review Of Our Charity Year

From winning awards, to launching new accredited learning…it’s been an amazing year of successes for Challenge Wales.

On what was branded as Visit Wales ‘Year of the Sea’ , we’ll take you on a quick tour of 2018 looking at some of our highlights, as we look forward to celebrating our 10th birthday in 2019!

The first six months of 2018;
In January, the charity had its first permanent salaried sea staff join the team and volunteers onboard Challenge Wales appeared in BBC’s Michael Portillo’s Great Railway Journeys

MIchael Portillo Great Railway Journeys Challenge Wales

 

 

 

 

 

 

February saw us undertake our first residential voyage, brrr it was a chilly one but great to have central heating onboard, and we were excited to win Highly Commended in both the Innovation and People Development categories at the South Wales Business Growth Awards
In April we banned one-use plastic water bottles onboard our vessels and started to issue all young people sailing with us with a Challenge Wales reusable drinks bottle. It was very difficult to manage banning one-use plastic water bottles but it became a great conversation point and raised awareness onboard
May saw the charity commission it’s newly acquired second vessel Adventure Wales and within a few weeks was heading to the Tall Ships Regatta to represent Cardiff, Wales and the UK. It was great that the vessel won the Sail Training International Environment Award! While Adventure Wales was taking part in cultural, youth events, Challenge Wales was Volvo Hunting and welcomed the Volvo Ocean Race fleet into Cardiff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In June we integrated litter picking into our teamwork activities and June was the month we launched our accredited Agored Cymru Environmental Project with Dee Caffari, Skipper of Turn the Tide on Plastic. We had aligned ourselves with Turn the Tide on Plastic as Dee was the only female skipper in the race, 50% of the crew were male/female, it had a really strong environmental message, had the youngest crew in the race and, at the time, the only Welsh sailor onboard. We also picked up the Amazing Space award in the Zokit Business Awards.

 

 

 

 

 

The second half of 2018 saw the charity;
Winning the Social Media Award at the start of the Tall Ships Races in Sunderland in July
In August we launched a sail training programme in North Wales on Adventure Wales and Challenge Wales returned from 49 days of sailing overseas, welcoming 10 different nationalities onboard and taking part in Europe’s largest free, youth, cultural event that was attended by millions of people!
November saw one of our trustees get invited to the Sail Training International Conference in Seville to speak about Challenge Wales’ sustainability journey
and believe it or not, our last voyage of the year happened at the beginning of December!

We welcomed quite a few new, fantastic volunteers to the team and set up no fewer than 30 partnerships with youth organisations who have seen the value of sail training and the impact it can have on young people. We’ve seen many of our young people succeed at getting bursary funding to help them get onboard – as we say, if young people want to take advantage of an opportunity but can’t afford it, we’ll help them to make that opportunity become reality.

 

Although we are small, we are proud of what we have achieved this year and remember;  “If you think you are too small to make an impact – try going to sleep with a mosquito in your cabin”  (quote unknown)

 Thank you so much to our donors, funders, volunteers, supporters and our amazing young people for a memorable 2018!

See you in 2019 for more educational adventures!

 

 

 

 

Challenge Wales volunteers evening at Crepe Escape

Festive Evening Celebrates Challenge Wales Volunteers

It was a festive thank you to the amazing Challenge Wales volunteers who’ve donated thousands of hours of their time this year.

Volunteers gathered at the award-winning restaurant Crepe Escape, in Penarth, as Trustees of the charity said a big thank you to those who have helped Challenge Wales this year in delivering voyages, fundraising and maintenance activities.

It’s the volunteers who are working with the young people through accredited onboard learning or our life skills development programme and giving up lots of their time to help others, and then coming back time and time again.

Challenge Wales Trustee, Vicky shared just a few of the amazing achievements that had happened in 2018. In particular, the launch of the second vessel Adventure Wales and starting a sail training programme in North Wales, launching an environmental accredited programme at the Volvo Ocean Race Stopover in Cardiff, doing our first group litter pick to raise awareness of one-use plastic getting into the marine environment and representing Wales and the UK at the spectacular Tall Ships Races.

Without our volunteers, these activities just wouldn’t be happening and our sail training programme wouldn’t be growing.

It was great to see familiar faces and new volunteers getting festive and the charity is now looking forward to an exciting 2019 as it celebrates its 10th birthday!!

Challenge Wales volunteers evening 2018

Round the Island Race Success

A 5.00am wake up call, a 5.30am departure from the pontoon and a 6.30am race start didn’t dampen spirits on Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship today, and after just over 11 and  a half hours Challenge Wales crossed the finish line in the famous Round the Island Race.

In what is the largest yacht race, with over 1,200 boats taking part and with around 10,000 participants taking to the water it really is  a spectacle like no other whether you are onboard or in the crowds watching and, if you are not doing either of those then following the fleet on the website race tracker can be pretty addictive too.

An early start for Challenge Wales crew means seeing a lovely sunrise

Challenge Wales, as a Class 0 vessel, was in the first group to start and as the cannon went off (fired with the press of a button by Dame Ellen MacArthur) it was a moment of excitement for everyone. For some of those on Challenge Wales it was their first Round the Island Race, while others had raced multiple times. But that didn’t matter as the exhilaration, anticipation and excitement was just the same.  Every 10 minutes for well over an hour another class of vessels would be facing the start line. Challenge Wales was the last of the Challenge 72 yachts to cross the start line. That gave us a bad start and in light airs which would be reducing through the morning, a bad start wasn’t what was needed.

The Challenge Wales charity uses Round the Island Race as one of its adult fundraisers which helps raise awareness of the sail training charity and also helps bring in revenue into the organisation to support our youth development programme, providing life skills to young people. It’s also one of the only opportunities where you will get to see several Challenge 72 yachts racing together against each other. And a great teambuilding event for companies, colleagues, friends or someone on their own to join in with.



An hour and a half into the race and we were making good progress and swapping places with the other Challenge boats.

As we went past the Needles, the spinnaker came out and as a spectator it is quite spectacular too see hundreds and hundreds of boats, all shapes and sizes turning into a mass of colour.

Pic of Challenge Wales  by Paul Wyeth on Round the Island Race website

Although we seemed well ahead of the other Challenge Boats we knew with light airs and tide it could be anyone’s race.

Challenge Wales managed to make good use of the wind and having a competitive skipper and team onboard and sailed ahead of the other Challenge 72’s.

At 1515hrs it looked like we were well ahead of the other Challenge 72’s but that almost changed as we ended up with little wind

A couple of hours later the wind dropped and it wasn’t until a couple of hours after that the wind started to pick up and we were able to gain some speed again and get across the finish line.

We finished the race,  beating again the other Challenge 72’s and the Clipper fleet, a few minutes after 1800hrs. Our elapsed time was 11 hours 34 minutes and 36 seconds, 18th in class and 283rd overall (which we don’t think is too bad seeing that 1,204 vessels started!). Here’s to next year…maybe!?