The Penarth-based sail training vessel “Challenge Wales” and the organisation behind it has received the UK Sail Training Vessel of the Year award.
The award is made annually by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO) to a vessel which has had an exceptional year and has fulfilled both the sail training aspirations of ASTO plus the seamanship and safety requirements for the MCA.
“Challenge Wales” provides personal and social development training for young people aged 12 – 25 years to help them improve their employability skills. The sailing charity helps young people to improve their teamwork and communication skills, discipline, teaches them respect and responsibility and as develops their self-confidence.
Sir Alan Massey, CEO of the MCA said “We chose Challenge Wales as this year’s highly deserving winner as the vessel stood out for determination and resourcefulness of everybody involved with her to make a real, safe and lasting difference to the lives of the community in which she operates.“
Skipper of Challenge Wales, Captain Andy Hall, said “Winning this award is a fantastic accolade to our volunteers, supporters and staff. Over the past eight years the charity has grown and is continuing to grow. We continue to work with a variety of young people from those looking for an adventure and to put sail training on their CV to those who are disadvantaged in one of many ways and looking to develop essential life skills to move into employment. Sail training is a great leveller, putting everyone on the same platform regardless of who you are and your background.”
Challenge Wales has another extensive sail training programme planned for 2017 that young people and groups can still sign up for, some of whom may qualify for bursary funding to cover their costs.
The “Challenge Wales” website is on http://www.challengewales.org/