Challenge Academy has been awarded more than £185,000 in grants from a range of providers including Sport England, Enovert Trust, Youth Endowment Fund and the Social Enterprise Support Fund.
A specialist in delivering outdoor activities, Challenge Academy offers adventure programmes, learning opportunities, training and resources aimed at the local community, schools, businesses and the general public.
Over the last year the Community Interest Company, which operates from its outdoor adventure centre based at Baggeridge Country Park has already added a new obstacle course and nets adventure to its existing high ropes course.
The company has received a £48,000 grant from Sport England and £30,000 from Enovert Community Trust, which will be used to develop the site even further with the addition of new adventure activities and making the site more accessible to people with disabilities.
A £40,000 Social Enterprise Support Fund (SESF) will help around 1800 young adults across the Black Country to improve their confidence, physical skills and mental wellbeing through the provision of training and ‘Bags of Character’, a team building resource developed by Challenge Academy.
In addition, a £43,000 Youth Endowment Fund (YEF) will go towards delivering a behaviour change programme targeting 250 school pupils in areas of high social deprivation across Birmingham City. As part of the 3 month programme, Challenge Academy will deliver accredited CPD training in the Facilitation Skills for Experiential Learning to 50 newly recruited staff by schools, which will enable them to self deliver targeted intervention over the long term.
Challenge Academy Director, Mel Ellis said: “The first half of the year was difficult for us, along with many other businesses with the Coronavirus pandemic forcing us to close our adventure site during the national lockdown, cancelling our school trip bookings and delaying the launch of our new facilities. However, we used this time to focus on developing plans for our growth and applying for grants we were eligible for as a Community Interest Company.
“The successful grant applications we received have greatly surpassed our expectations, but mean that we are now in a great position to be able to support more people across the community we serve, and especially at a time when many are facing uncertainty with their employment prospects and declines in levels of mental health.
“All of our activities are outdoors and can be delivered with social distancing measures in place and offer challenges for all abilities, from helping individuals to step outside their comfort zones or overcome fears. We also pride ourselves on our ‘mobile outreach’ programme with our own mobile challenge kit, which can be set up in any location and create a range of team building challenges.”