Challenging and disadvantaged young people from the Isle of Wight shared their experiences of an epic 11 day expedition across Scotland, at a special awards ceremony on Friday.
The group of eight young teenagers trekked and canoed over 230kms from Fort William on the west coast to Spey Bay on the north-east coast, carrying all their own equipment, tents and food.
The life-changing trip was part of an eight week programme run by Isle of Wight charity Challenge & Adventure which works with challenging and disadvantaged young islanders, using outdoor activities to re-build their confidence and self-esteem and help them get their lives back on track.
Phil Wells from Challenge and Adventure said: “This was an incredible challenge for the young people, none of whom had done much in the outdoors. Not only was it a serious physical challenge but mentally it was hugely demanding.
“To be away from family and friends with no mobile phones, computers, Facebook or contact with the outside world and with the only opportunity for washing in cold streams and Lochs was very challenging.
“They can be incredibly proud of having completed this journey, a journey which very few people can say they have done.”
Challenge and Adventure is a registered charity which was set up in 1992 to support and help vulnerable and disavantaged young people on the Isle of Wight by engaging them in positive activities. During this time they have worked with many hundreds of young people helping them to get their lives back on track and play a positive role in society.
They are based at Shorwell Youth Centre, but the activities we run take place all over the Island as well as residential activity on the mainland and even abroad. They work with young people aged from 11 to 16 who are referred to the charity by agencies on the Island. Many Lack confidence and have low self esteem; some have difficulties engaging with school; and some are at risk of getting in trouble with the authorities.
They offer a range of positive activities over an 8 – 10 week Challenge period such as camping, mountain biking, climbing, water sports, archery, hiking etc. A week’s residential is usually included during this time helping the group to bond and to work through some of the issues they face in their day to day lives. At the end of this the young people are invited to remain engaged to continue with additional activities and they have the opportunity to take part in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. All their funding has to be raised by themselves.
They are extremely grateful for the support they have received from many sources including The National Lottery, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight Police, Hampshire Police Authority, Wightlink, Shanklin Rotary Club and many others. Without this support they could not operate.