Challenge Wales is a small, award-winning sail training charity, predominantly run by a team of amazing volunteers and based in Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan.
Through its work, Challenge Wales seeks to improve the lives and prospects of young people aged 12-25 by providing unique, exhilarating, fun and empowering experiences through outdoor learning at sea utilising the sail training vessels; Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship and Adventure Wales.. Many of our participants face a disadvantage, through a physical disability, poverty, mental health or social barriers or other circumstances, and who would not otherwise have access to such experiences.
Challenge Wales sail training activities give the young people the opportunity to learn teamwork skills, self-confidence, communication skills, learn about resilience and respect for others and give them a nationally recognised qualification to go on their CV. This empowers participants to reflect on their life choices and decisions in a positive way. The activities, which are outdoors, are also evidenced to improve young people’s mental health and well-being – which couldn’t be more important as we live in a COVID world.
Challenge Wales works with a diverse mix of young people including those who are not in education, employment or training, homeschoolers, those who are young carers, those at risk of being homeless, those in the care system, LGBTQ+, BAME groups and those with learning needs. The charity also works with young people who are financially disadvantaged and face barriers to participating in outdoor learning activities, have low self-worth as well as those who are furthest away from the employment sector.
Over the past few years our sail training activities have developed to include awareness of environmental issues around the local coast that are affecting the marine life and oceans and helping people to learn about sustainability. These are integrated into our mainstream sail training activities.
The impact of our activities are life-changing for some. For others it helps them into employment, gives them confidence to deal with life and new situations, helps them focus on a future that has them in it and enables them to make friends and talk to people to reduce isolation.
What do people say?
‘The impact of sailing on Challenge Wales has been amazing. Challenge Wales has been instrumental in supporting our programme to help young people lead independent and fulfilling lives’ – Youth Worker
‘I feel great – I felt healthy and alive after (the voyage). I do more stuff now than I did before, I walk more, go out and don’t stay in as much now’ – Young participant