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.

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.

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).

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

Almost 3000 miles later, Challenge Wales Returns Home to Cardiff

After almost 50 days away, Challenge Wales is returning home to Penarth today having had an amazing youth-led summer of adventure.

Having left her home port of Penarth Marina in June crewed by young people from Newport, Challenge Wales set sail for the South Coast for an adult fundraiser before heading to Sunderland for the start of the Tall Ships Races which would see us visit Esbjerg (Denmark), Stavanger (Norway), Harlingen (Netherlands) before returning into UK waters.

The rest of the summer would see young people jumping onboard representing no fewer than 10 different nationalities to experience one of the largest cultural, youth events in Europe as we represented Cardiff, Wales and the UK.

Those onboard would be racing, cooking, cleaning and running the boat…often jumping onboard with no experience whatsoever….but that’s fine as our volunteers and sea-staff help show everyone the ropes (literally!)

To get a snapshot of what was being experienced on Challenge Wales take a look at the film that one of our French trainees put together;

Although our summer has been fun, it has been educational which underpins all our activities.

From making ourselves more plastic aware and doing a litter pick at one of the ports we stopped at, to developing teamwork and communication skills, meeting young people from all over the world and understanding and accepting different cultures, to working in watches and strict routines, to broadening horizons and developing confidence and making new friends through adventure – It’s sail training in action. We are also proud to have given every young person who joined us a reusable drinks bottle to use during the voyage and to take home afterwards in our efforts to educate young people on the damage one-use plastic is doing to the environment.

49 young people have jumped onboard over the last few weeks, some were doing their Gold DofE, some were wanting to put something different onto their CV, some were onboard as they were deserving of a place and had been nominated for the experience while others were onboard working on an accredited environmental project. What was really good to see was that some of the young people who booked onto one leg, asked to stay on for the next voyage…so we must be doing something really special for that to happen!

What also made the Tall Ships Races exciting was not just the range of weather conditions from no wind to 35 knots, sailing non-stop through the night in watches or seeing a whale (albeit briefly), was that the Tall Ships fleet were trackable so parents, families and friends could follow our progress from home. With regular updates on twitter too, it really felt that you were there experiencing it with the young people!

Did you know that Challenge Wales volunteers helped deliver our summer adventures and this year amazingly 21 volunteers donated collectively almost 250 days of their time to make our overseas summer voyages happen?

And, with Wales’ sail training charity heading towards its 10th birthday next year, who knows what other exciting adventures are on the horizon and will be shared. #SharetheAdventure

Challenge Wales arrives into Harlingen at the end of the Tall Ships Races 2018. Pic courtesy of Sail Training International

 

Amazing Start for Challenge Wales in Tall Ships Races 2018

At the Tall Ships Races 2018 prize giving ceremony in Sunderland, Challenge Wales won the Social Media Award followed by an impressive start in the first leg of the Tall Ships Races.

Challenge Wales uses social media to engage with supporters, funders, parents/guardians, young people and volunteers. It’s a engaging way for us to try and capture some of the impact we are having, keep people updated on what we are doing and share our successes. Winning a drone as the prize was fantastic and something we’d wanted for a while. Having seen the Volvo Ocean Race onboard reporters using drones spectacularly at sea we wondered if we were a bit ambitious in even thinking it was going to fly and then return back to us (at the moment we have had a trial run on the quayside).

A very happy Challenge Wales Skipper sporting his reusable drinks bottle with one of the young people accepting our drone prize

Sunderland hosted a truly spectacular Tall Ships event. Flags and more flags could be seen fluttering in the wind and a great opportunity for photographers to capture some spectacular shots.

Pic courtesy of Sail Training International

In the afternoon of the 14th July, Challenge Wales headed out of the port for the Parade of Sail, and what better way to say goodbye to Sunderland. With spectacular square riggers, that Captain Jack Sparrow would be proud of, smaller vessels dressed with flags, seeing the International Tall Ships fleet sail out watched by thousands of people from shore is truly memorable.

Pic courtesy of Liam McCormick Photography

At 1945hrs we started our race and impressively were the first boat in our Class (Class C) to cross the start line. With young people onboard Challenge Wales and going straight into a night sail would certainly be a team bonding event.

By morning (15th July) Challenge Wales was in light airs in the wrong direction which are conditions that Challenge Wales doesn’t perform her best in but even so, she is still making a strong effort being 6th in Class and 6th for Line Honours.

The Tall Ships Races is one of the largest youth and cultural events in Europe and an event whose impact can’t be underestimated. It’s youth work in action and with no fewer than 8 different nationalities onboard Challenge Wales for this first leg it’s an experience that will be life-changing for many.

You can track Challenge Wales when she is racing here: http://yb.tl/tsr2018#

Don’t forget you can keep up to date with our adventures on twitter, facebook, instragram and linkedin. So give us a like or a retweet and show your support!


 

Turn the Tide on Plastic Skipper Helps Launch Environmental Project

Volvo Ocean Race skipper, Dee Caffari helped launched Challenge Wales’ Environmental Project at the Volvo Ocean Race Village, Cardiff Bay.

Dee Caffari Challenge Wales Volvo Ocean Race Village

On 31st May, guests and volunteers turned up initially onboard Challenge Wales for a tour of the vessel,  before heading off to the eco-lounge in the Volvo Ocean Race village to hear Dee’s stories of adventure, the fight against the tide of plastic that is infiltrating even the remotest parts of the world and to hear more about the accredited learning opportunities and life-changing work that the Challenge Wales charity provides. With compostable cups holding tea and coffee in hand, everyone listened intently to what Dee had to say.

The Environmental Project is the latest addition to the Challenge Wales programme to give young people who participate on sailing days and voyages an opportunity to get an accredited qualification to add to their CV, while improving a host of life-skills through the process of hands-on big boat sailing and its development is part of the charity’s Voyages of Discovery Big Lottery funded project.

As skipper of Turn the Tide on Plastic the 65ft Volvo Ocean Race yacht, which is enjoying a stopover at Cardiff, Dee is trying to educate people about the danger of disposable plastics and the effect they are having on the seas and the wildlife. “During the race we have been carrying out a science project to measure microplastics in the oceans. There were microplastics present in the most southerly part of the Southern Ocean! The problem is that you can’t see it, but it is everywhere, and everything in the food chain is affected. The potential health implications are enormous” she said at the launch.

Challenge Wales has been undertaking other environmental initiatives over the years including being part of a global citizen science project and measuring plankton levels, bringing science to life with experiences, working with the warden on Lundy Island to understand ecosystems. Challenge Wales has also worked with both Cardiff and Plymouth universities on marine-related activities.

Pic credits: Bekoh Photography

 

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 (as part of our Big Lottery Funded project Voyages of Discovery) 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.