PENARTH-based youth sailing charity Challenge Wales celebrated its fifth birthday with a well-attended event at the Senedd last month.

Volunteers, supporters and youth group leaders attended the evening together with guests including the Vaughan Gething, Assembly Member for Cardiff South and Penarth, who sponsored the event on Thursday, March 20.

The charity’s 72-foot round-the-world yacht, also called Challenge Wales, is primarily used to teach 12-25 year olds social skills such as teamwork, communication and discipline as well as improve self-confidence.

Relying on a group of more than 120 active volunteers who have donated 30,000 hours of their time, almost 1,000 young people have sailed on Challenge Wales since its first voyage in 2009.

Vicky Williams, Trustee and Chair of the Board of Trustees used the event to formally thank volunteers and acknowledge their hard work and commitment: “The Challenge Wales charity would not be where it is today without our volunteers and we thank them for being there when we need them and their continued support”.

Challenge Wales has had a lot to celebrate over the last five years including taking part in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant in 2012, winning trophies in youth sailing events and being the winner of the ITV People’s Millions Award last year enabling it to start working with visually impaired young people.

Vaughan Gething AM said: “It is great that locally we have such an innovative learning experience through Challenge Wales. Sail training enables young people to develop life skills which are vital for employment. I look forward to talking more to the volunteers and following the progress of Challenge Wales during its fifth year.”

Challenge Wales is looking forward to sailing further afield this year, not just to West Wales and North Wales but is pleased to be part of the Commonwealth Games flotilla in Scotland and a Tall Ships Regatta, racing with other youth sailing vessels, from Falmouth to London during the summer. The Challenge Wales Bursary Scheme (for Welsh residents aged under 26 years) which helps reduce the cost for young people’s berths onboard the boat will also continue this year enabling more people to get involved in life-enhancing opportunities onboard.