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Category Archives: News

School Finds The Real Value Of Challenge4Change

For the last two years, Sharon Davies has taken Key Stage 3 students from Chapel-en-le-Frith High School to Challenge4Change as a reward following Saturday School sessions and has found the experience to be hugely valuable and popular.

“Challenge4 Change has proven to be an immense hit with Chapel Superstar students,” she said. “In fact, the ‘Leap of Faith’ has assumed almost legendary proportions within this cohort. Why do I value Challenge4 Chanc4cge so much? Why do I keep coming back year after year? Why do students who have attended the Saturday Superstars as year 8 students frantically volunteer to be student leaders in year 9 to assist the programme the next year?

“I’d like to give you my opinion of Challenge4Change. I had heard of indoor outdoor activity centres, not really seeing the value in today’s educational backdrop – how wrong I was. The leaders at Challenge4 Change have that unique ‘coolness’ that mere teachers can’t attain no matter how we try. They manage to instantly relate to our students, particularly, the disadvantaged students, with a bond that allows the student to push themselves out of their comfort zone to reach their potential.

“For me that sums it up; it’s in the name, students really are challenged for change. I witnessed a student in tears, shaking from adrenaline and euphoric in her achievement overcoming her fear of heights, volunteering to accompany another equally ‘scared’ student back up on the high rope challenge in her quest to see the other student feel the joy she is feeling at beating her fear! Those memories stay with me, those children and the whole Saturday School community.

“The leaders are in the privileged position that teachers can’ t exploit, of setting a team building task, detailing the parameters and then refraining from offering additional support when students try to bend the rules of the task by asking for further clarification. What you see following this refusal to help and support, something teachers are programmed to do, is phenomenal – you see resilient students developing.

“They dig deep and realise they possess the skills, knowledge, know-how themselves. Fledgling leaders the playing field is levelled. Popularity or perceived intelligence no longer restrict the students’ interactions and it is truly wonderful, inspiring and an epiphany to watch.

“Students, who are usually overlooked, even unpopular, are elevated to positions of admiration as they succeed in skills not commonly accessed in the regular school day. This boost in self confidence remains beyond the confines of the walls of Challenge4 change; the students take something, although not tangible, very real and incredibly valuable home with them.”

Challenge 4 Change to Host Charity Fun Day with Trafford Domestic Abuse Services

THE CENTREChallenge 4 Change, the Trafford Park based indoor activity centre, has teamed up with Trafford Domestic Abuse Services (TDAS) to organise a Sports Day charity fundraiser.

The “School Sports Day” style fancy dress event takes place at C4C on Friday 4th March.  Challenge 4 Change is a registered charity which provides the only indoor training centre of its kind in the North of England combining training and conference facilities with a 13 station aerial runway over 35 feet off the ground, a high ropes training course and a low level obstacle course.

TDAS is the only specialist domestic abuse charity in Trafford, with over 24 years experience working with adults and children suffering domestic abuse.  They help by providing support services, accommodation and delivering awareness programmes.

Lydia Thompson, Chief Executive Officer, from TDAS said: “The statistics around domestic abuse are very surprising to most people.  Domestic abuse affects over a million children in the UK, and on average two women are killed by their current or former partner every week.  Men can also be the victims of domestic abuse, but behind every statistic lies a human story.

“Without our donors we wouldn’t be able to continue our work, saving lives and helping people.  We need to continue to prevent children from entering into unhealthy relationships through our awareness campaigns.  Fundraising events like this one are crucial to enable us to help people to make better safer, happier futures for themselves and their children.”

Dave Djordjevic, Chief Executive of C4C said: “We’re delighted to work with TDAS and support the valuable work they do in Trafford.  We would encourage local businesses to get involved either by entering a team for the Sports Day, or by taking advantage of one of the sponsorship opportunities available.  We’ve devised a packed day of fun and challenging activities, including a Glide and Slide Relay, Willies over the Wall, and a Muddy Egg and Spoon race.  We can guarantee that everyone taking part will have a great day as well as raising money for a very worthy cause.”

To find out about taking part, and to learn about sponsorship opportunities, please phone ring 0300 123 1401 or e mail info@challenge4change.org.

Challenge 4 Change Links Up With University’s ‘United In Manchester’ Summer School

Activity centre Challenge 4 Change has become an official partner of a University of Manchester summer school for students from around the world.

The indoor teambuilding venue at Trafford Park will host participants in the first week of the United in Manchester programme, which will run from July 4 to August 4 this year.

IMG_0696They will spend a day at Challenge 4 Change undertaking activities designed to foster a team spirit and trust in others, as well as building self-confidence and self-esteem.

United in Manchester was conceived by Paul Cowell, a lecturer in new product development at the University of Manchester’s School of Materials.

The summer school will bring together students from Europe, the Americas and the Far East to work on concepts for new products that have the potential for commercialisation.

Last year’s inaugural event attracted participants from 11 countries and Paul says he expects the 2016 event will be bigger.

The 2015 participants devised a host of apps and web-based tools aimed at fellow students.

They included apps for car sharing, recipes based on ingredients that students have in their larders at any given time, and one linking students with others who require tutoring for certain modules.

Paul said: “We have been greatly impressed with the team-building activities at Challenge 4 Change and are delighted that the organisation has now become an official partner of United in Manchester.

“It will make a big contribution to the course by encouraging people from different disciplines and cultures to work together, which is something that modern employers require in this global industrialised world.”

Successful completion of the course counts for 20 University of Manchester credits towards the students’ degrees in their home countries.

Dave Djordjevic, chief executive of Challenge 4 Change, said: “We are delighted to become the official team pursuits partner for United in Manchester.

“The programme is a great initiative to promote collaboration and innovation among participants from across the globe.

“Our involvement will increase awareness of Challenge 4 Change in the higher education sector, both in the UK and overseas.

“We look forward to hosting the students participating in the 2016 United in Manchester summer school and to helping them to bond and learn the benefits of working together.”

High Party Time Adventures at Challenge 4 Change Party

party1As well as all the work Challenge 4 Change does with disadvantaged groups it is becoming increasingly popular as a party venue, particularly for children, but also for stag and hen parties and for junior sports teams.

Children’s parties have really taken off though and Challenge 4 Change are getting more enquiries every day as word spreads from satisfied parents and children.

What the parents like is that it’s a unique, safe, controlled environment that involves a lot of learning and team work as well as being fantastic fun – and it gives them a break!

What the children love is the chance to go in, though, under and over challenges, to have fun with their friends and to be in competition with them. They love jumping off things, climbing up things and swinging around on things.

The Challenge 4 Change party experiences are usually 2 to 2.5 half hours in length, start from 8 years old and involve ground ‘army’ style activities followed by an adrenalin fuelled high adventure. Some places have similar aerial adventures in the cold and wet outdoors, but at Challenge 4 Change they take place in a safe dry environment under constant supervision.

“Just wanted to say a big thank you for a fab day for Jake’s birthday today. Oliver and Max thoroughly enjoyed it and have asked if they can have their birthday parties here. Your professional but friendly approach really shone through to the children. Many thanks once again.” Debbie & Mike

“Hannah and her friends had a fantastic time. The instructor made the experience both fun and challenging.  Some of The kids had never done anything like it before and they loved it.” Chrissy

If you want more information or to book please email info@challenge4change.org or call 0161 359 3399.

Stroke survivors celebrate life after stroke with 35 foot high aerial assault course

DSC_0421 (1280x853)Stroke survivors and carers from across Manchester have taken on a 35 foot high aerial assault course to support the Stroke Association.

On Friday 30 October, the group completed Challenge 4 Change, an assault course equipped to accommodate participants with disabilities. The event was organised by the Stroke Association’s Manchester Information, Advice and Support Service, which supports people affected by stroke across Greater Manchester.

Among the stroke survivors taking part was former Sergeant Major Instructor, Paul Greenough, 59, from Manchester. Paul had a stroke in June 2014 after serving in the army and Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force for more than 20 years.

Paul said: “The course was a real challenge and my legs were a little wobbly when I got to the top, but I managed to overcome my fear. Taking part actually brought back memories of being in the army; the cargo net was a piece of cake! After a stroke, it’s so important not to give up, you have to keep fighting. I’ve realised I’m one of the lucky ones and taking part in Challenge 4 Change helped to prove this.”

Geoff Heathcote, 65, from Failsworth, cares for his wife Mary after she had a stroke. He said: “I’m scared of heights so was really proud of myself for taking part. Everyone had a different challenge to overcome and we all came away with a real sense of achievement.”

Krysia Roff, 62 from Manchester, was left with severe aphasia after her stroke. After initially worrying about taking part, she was tethered to Stroke Association coordinator Helen and described the whole experience as “wonderful”.

Helen Gilbertson, Community Stroke Support Coordinator at the Stroke Association, said: “A stroke strikes in an instant but its effects can last a lifetime. There are around 152,000 strokes each year and it is the largest cause of complex disability in the UK. We celebrated World Stroke Day on 29 October by taking part in Challenge 4 Change, which uses specialist equipment to enable people with disabilities to take part in the assault course. All our stroke survivors and carers who took part had a really memorable and enriching experience.”

Dave Djordjevic, Chief Executive of Challenge 4 Change, said: “At Challenge 4 Change we believe we are truly inclusive and that everyone can achieve something here. We are proud to support World Stroke Day and to play a positive part in the stroke survivors’ journey of progression.”

World Stroke Day takes place each year on 29 October. Since 2006, World Stroke Day has highlighted the worldwide rates of stroke, raised awareness of the steps that can be taken to prevent stroke and called for better support for stroke survivors and carers.

The Stroke Association provides an Information, Advice and Support Service in Central and North Manchester, in partnership with Manchester City Council and Central Manchester Clinical Commissioning Group. For more information about stroke, ring the Helpline on 0303 30 33 100 or visit www.stroke.org.uk.

The event was a project of the Manchester Reducing Social Isolation & Loneliness in Older People programme 2014-16. Grant Funding from North, Central & South Manchester NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in partnership with Age Friendly Manchester. Managed by Macc. Further information at: http://bit.ly/maccrsi

Lives Changed at Challenge 4 Change

Trafford-20151010-00517Dean Lynch (pictured with Chris Whiteley) first came to Challenge 4 Change on a work release programme being successfully rolled out from HMP Thorn Cross. The scheme was set up to showcase the skills of carefully selected prisoners to potential employees.

Dean came to Challenge 4 Change on a daily basis, using public transport everyday, and then returning to the prison at night. In the 4 month period he was here he did a variety of jobs from checking equipment, cleaning, prepping sessions with Chris and assisting in the delivery of sessions to a variety of groups.

One of the skills Dean brought with him was the ability to empathise with, and mentor, young people who may be at risk of becoming involved with anti-social and / or criminal behaviour.

During his placement Dean was released from custody but continued to attend on a voluntary basis. This developed  into Dean being trained to work at Challenge 4 Change on a paid session by session basis, helping out with larger groups and becoming an integral member of our “team-mates not inmates” and “teams not gangs” delivery teams.

Challenge 4 Change has received funding from the from the Greater Manchester Police and Crime Commissioner, for the training and employment, on a sessional basis, of an ex-offender plus the delivery of part-funded team-mates not inmates sessions. Funding has also been received from Forever Manchester and the GMP Challenger Fund in Salford for the delivery of out Teams not Gangs programme. Because of the aforementioned funding and an increased demand for both the “Teams not Gangs” and “Team-mates not Inmates” programmes it has been possible for Dean to be guaranteed work at Challenge 4 Change over the life of these bids.

Chris Whiteley commented: “Its great that Dean chose to turn his life around and I am proud that Challenge 4 Change played a role in helping facilitate and reinforce that change”. Dean said “its great to have had this opportunity at a time when I needed it most and I am looking forward to working at Challenge 4 Change on a more regular basis as it really is an inspirational place. I am also pleased that I can pass on the benefits of my experience to young people so that they can make better choices in their lives”.

Tower 2 Tower 2015 Day 8

Day 8 (Chantilly to Paris)

day 8 super selfieWe started later because its a short day. The 30 miles to Paris was helped by the weather, which stayed dry all the way.

Our usual coffee stop place wasn’t open so we ended up in the Golden Arches where fast food moved very slowly. It wasn’t helped by the new automated ordering system they have inflicted on their customers.

Only one puncture on this day, which was a blessing, as some of the bikes (and cyclists) were feeling the effects of cycling over 600 miles. As we wound through Paris I managed a couple of wring turns and we had a couple of fallers, both who picked themselves up and carried on.

The group completed 3 circuits of the Arc de Triomphe (a Tower 2 Tower record) and then we headed to the Tower where we were met by family and friends.

A very emotional time, especially for those doing it for the first time. Charlotte gets a very special mention here as she had less self belief that she would make it than everyone else. However make it she did!

The day was finished off with the normal Seine dinner cruise and then drinks in a couple of local bars. This is where Jason fell asleep and had to be helped home by James and Ste, who did a fantastic job supporting the cyclists from start to finish.

There won’t be a Tower 2 Tower next year but it will return in 2017, so if you want to get involved please email dave@tower2tower.org.uk

Tower 2 Tower 2015 Day 7

Day 7 (Amiens to Chantilly)

day7 tanlinesWe left Amiens at around 8am for the 70 miles to Chantilly. The route took us through some lovely little villages. We didn’t get far out of Amiens before Jason got another puncture. This one resulted in him losing 2 spokes but the bike was fit to carry on. A helpful French cyclist stopped and decided to cycle with us for about 20k. A little further on Jay had a puncture and needed a replacement tyre – so all in all an eventful start to the day.

The toughest part of the day was a high open stretch passing lots of wind turbines as the headwind was quite strong. Stacey and Charlotte in particular took a buffeting whereas my size helps me somewhat! The weather was good for the whole day and the rain that threatened never arrived.

A fuel stop was taken at a nice little sandwich shop which served some lovely mini doughnuts. There were 4 types filled with jam, nutella, apple and cream so I had to try one of each.

The final part of the journey is quite quick and Lee’s bike managed two more punctures before we all made it safely to the hotel, knowing that the vast majority of the challenge was done.

The evening meal was in a great little restaurant called the Vertugadin, which I would highly recommend if you ever find yourself in Chantilly.

Its a short ride to Paris tomorrow – only 30 miles.

day7

Tower 2 Tower 2015 Day 6

Day 6 (Calais to Amiens)

IMG_20150814_0051124Day 6 is always a tough but very scenic one as its over 100 miles from Calais to Amiens. The positive though is that the roads are much quieter in France and the route winds its was through quiet country villages.

Heading out through the Calais one way system the first 10 miles are flat and progress is speedy.

Then the rolling hills start and go on until about mile 27 without much respite and the average speeds drop significantly. Some of the hills seem to go on for ever and the downhills see some impressive speeds being clocked up by the more adventurous of the group.

The wind wasn’t too bad this year but it soon became very hot and at its peak temperatures reached over 35 degrees which meant many of our number used their liquids up very quickly. Cyclists took cover under trees at certain points and many made use of the fritteries, more of which seem to be open this year.

The route passed through some lovely villages and even the French crooked spire.

Marie and Paul continue to be the fastest of the group. Making it to Amiens in an impressive 7 hours.

However the majority got caught in major downpours as the heat was followed by thunder storms which made cycling impossible and shelter was sought in the vans and at Abbeville.

However the main thing is, despite more issues with Jason’s bike that all the cyclists made it safely to Amiens which has a most impressive cathedral and bars which serve a selection of fruit beers.

Tomorrow is a 70 miler to Chantilly and here’s hoping the weather is both cooler and drier!

Tower 2 Tower 2015 Day 5

Day 5 (Gravesend to Calais)

The route was an undulating one to Rochester where a couple of hills really set us up for the day.

We then made our way down the A2 towards Faversham and by this time Marie and Paul had broken away from the pack and sped away. They paid the price later though as they hit Dover in a downpour and the rest of us avoided the rain.

The worst (or best depending on how you look at it) hill came at about 30 miles and was a long and grinding one. Then came the punctures which kept both our support vehicles occupied.

Lunch was in Canterbury, a beautiful place, and then the route took us to Ash, before we made our way to Sandwich and Deal. Sandwich is a lovely place and its always great to see crashing waves at Deal.

There was then the winding path up to the top of the white cliffs before entering the port (see the video on the Challenge for Change Facebook page).

Amazing performance by our cyclists again today who all made it to the ferry on time. Charlotte deserves a special mention for really digging in.

The evening meal was taken on the ferry, a very nice chicken curry pour moi (brushing up on the lingo).

Tomorrow is a long day (105 miles) to Amiens – bring it on!