News

Join the Team

February 14, 2020

Our highly driven, ambitious and dynamic Sales & Marketing team is growing!

Would you like to join a multi-award winning company that works exclusively for the charity sector, raising millions of pounds for worthwhile causes?

We operate treks, bike rides, mountain climbs, and other adventure travel itineraries, while our clients raise money for the charity closest to their heart. To date, our participants have raised over £59m for 1800+ charities.

Work for us - Charity Challenge

New Business Development Manager

We’re looking for an experienced, passionate, and commercially minded New Business Development Manager to join our Sales & Marketing team.

The New Business Development Manager’s role is to build Charity Challenge’s market position and maximise business growth by prospecting, developing, defining, negotiating, and closing new business relationships. You will be responsible for driving sales to meet set targets with the acquisition of new and sustainable business. You will work closely with the Director, Marketing Manager and Account Managers to increase sales opportunities and thereby maximise revenue for Charity Challenge. To achieve this, you need to identify new customers in the charity & corporate sectors (with a focus on the corporate side) and other potential new markets, customise suitable product/s, present to them, convert them into clients, and continue to grow business this business.

For more information, please see the see the job description

Bookings Administrator

We’re looking for a passionate, personable and highly organised Bookings Administrator to join our Sales & Marketing team.

This is your opportunity to shine as a Bookings Administrator for a leading tour operator and event management company who specialise in tailored national and international challenges in the charity and corporate sectors. We are looking for a passionate individual to join the Bookings Team and to help take this exciting part of the business forward whilst providing exceptional customer service. You will need to have the ability to inspire, motivate and engage with both new and existing participants to take part in incredible adventures around the globe. You will have excellent administration and organisational skills, an enthusiastic and results-driven focus, great attention to detail & accuracy and the ability to manage a varied workload.

For more information, please see the see the job description


To apply please send your CV and cover letter detailing why you would be suitable for the role to jenn@charitychallenge.com

Destination

Top 10 tips for trekking in the Himalayas

February 11, 2020

Our wonderful Charity and Corporate Account Manager Sarah had the pleasure of joining a Charity Challenge team last October on the Dalai Lama Himalayan trek. From the madness of Delhi, to the beauty and tranquility of the Indian Himalaya, this unique 12 day expedition is the perfect introduction to India. The challenge follows the Uhl River, through the heart of the world’s highest mountain range in Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama and the centre of the Tibetan community are located. The region remains largely unvisited, which makes it a pristine and unspoilt area to explore via foot. 

These are Sarah’s top 10 tips on how the make the most out of your Dalai Lama Himalayan trek.

1 – Train

It may sound obvious, but this really will be the difference between enjoying and enduring your trek.  You’ll need to sustain around 6-8 hours of trekking for 5 continuous days, so get outdoors and spend some time hill walking.  When you’re not outdoors, any exercise is good training.  Try swimming, yoga, gym classes, walking to work or simply taking the stairs! Our Charity Challenge training weekends are a fantastic opportunity to meet people in the Great Outdoors, share fundraising stories and gain valuable advice and support for the challenge ahead.

2 – Wear in your boots

No one wants to spend 5 days trekking with blisters, so make sure these are well worn in before departure!  Coupled with a good quality pair of walking socks, your feet will really feel the benefit. For some helpful advice on looking after your feet read more here from our friends at Outdoor Hire.

3 – Be culturally prepared

In the Himalayas you’ll meet three of the world’s greatest religions, Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism. The mountains are a conservative place, so make sure to cover up (no crop tops or hot pants) as trekking here is as much about the culture as it is the scenery.

4 – Learn to say Hello

You’ll meet a lot of friendly locals who will all want to say ‘Namaste’ and wish you well on your trek. Namaste (nah-mah-stay) is the equivalent of hello, but with an element of respect. In Hinduism, it means “I bow to the divine in you”

5 – Sippy Sippy!

The climate can be hot and humid, and your body will be working hard so hydrate often.  You’ll need to carry and drink around 3ltrs of water a day.  Invest in a reusable water bottle and reduce your plastic waste while exploring the majestic Himalayan mountains. A small bottle of squash to add can make the 9th litre seem a bit more exciting!

6 – Hygiene

You don’t want to pick up a stomach bug while only having access to natures toilet, so wash your hands where you can and take hand sanitiser to use as often as required.

7 – Layer up

Weather in the Himalayas can be very changeable, from hot and humid to rain and hail, so a long-sleeved layer and waterproofs in your day pack will keep you comfortable at all times.  It also gets pretty cold at night so a thermal layer, hat and gloves should be packed for the evenings.

8 – Be mentally prepared

The days will be long and tough so it’s important to remember why you are there.  Talk to your team mates, encourage each other and share your individual stories.  Why are you supporting your chosen charity?  Talking can really help focus your mind when the tiredness kicks in.

9 – Poles

Poles will be a big support with both the steep ascents and descents and can reduce the pressure on your knees by up to 30%.  If you haven’t used these before, practice walking with them beforehand. Read more on how to become a pole master.

10 – Enjoy yourself

You’ve spent months training and fundraising, so take your time enjoying the lush green landscapes, local culture and a night sky full of stars.

Eager to start your own journey of exploration in the Himalayas? Join us on one of our upcoming Dalai Lama Himalayan Treks. We can guarantee you wont be disappointed!

https://www.charitychallenge.com/challenge/13/Dalai-Lama-Himalayan-Trek-

Inspiration

The Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors on Your Mental Health

February 6, 2020

This Time to Talk day our wonderful Charity Challenge leader Ian shares his thoughts on some of the benefits of spending time outdoors on your mental health.

Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors on Your Mental Health

The benefits of what I once saw referred to as “Vitamin N” (ie nature!) are many-fold. A huge amount of research has been undertaken on the subject confirming the real benefits of time spent outside on mental health – here’s just a few of these proven benefits from a little recent reading:

Reduce levels of stress

Making time to immerse yourself in nature even for a few minutes can reduce levels of stress by reducing the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and boosting endorphin and dopamine levels – the main chemicals that make us happy!

Increase energy levels

Time spent outdoors has been shown to have restorative properties – increasing energy levels and sharpening mental agility and focus. It doesn’t even need to be high-adrenaline extreme activity – just find a view and stay awhile to enjoy it.

Improve creative thinking

Taking some personal time out in nature can improve creative thinking and restore your capacity for concentration – if you have writers’ block or are struggling with a particular task or project – take a walk outside – it’s amazing how things can fall into place with a change of scenery!

Improve sleep quality

A couple of hours’ gentle walking in woodland or forest can evidently help improve sleep quality. Furthermore, time spent in natural, rather than artificial, light can help reset your body clock, helping you feel more refreshed after sleeping.

Reduce the risk of mental health

Regular use of the outdoors for exercise can reduce the risk of mental health problems significantly.

We become nicer people!

The numerous benefits that exposure to nature provides us with also affect the way we treat others – put simply we become nicer people when we embrace nature!  

William Henry Davies (1871-1940) was well aware of this, writing about it very eloquently in his poem “Leisure” – here’s an extract:

“What is this life, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare

No time to see, when woods we pass, where squirrels hide their nuts in grass

No time to see, in broad daylight, streams full of stars like skies at night

A poor life this, if full of care, we have no time to stand and stare”

So – remember the old adage “What you need is fresh air and exercise” – because it’s absolutely true – and we can all benefit from it – so why not give it a try soon?


For more top tips, and to learn more about all our charity challenges, please visit our website at www.charitychallenge.com, and, to keep up to date on all our challenge news, subscribe to this blog by clicking on the orange RSS button, you can also enter your email address into the adjacent box to subscribe to our mailing list.

News

December 2019 China Coronavirus Outbreak Advisory

January 31, 2020

Update: 31st January

ADVICE TO TRAVELLING PARTICIPANTS

Charity Challenge will continue to be directed by relevant government authorities regarding health and safety in connection to the coronavirus outbreak.  Currently, the only official UK government travel advisory (from the FCO) to avoid travel is to China and it is currently deemed safe to travel to all other Charity Challenge destinations.  Should that change, the groups and individuals affected will be contacted directly to discuss options and to make alternative arrangements.

All travelling participants, wherever they are going in the world, are requested to apply a high degree of awareness and common sense in the run up to, and during an expedition.   Charity Challenge is committed to not becoming a part of the problem!

Participants are requested to apply a high degree of self-regulation to avoid joining a trip as an infected individual and spreading it, and to avoid contracting or spreading it whilst overseas.  The following is advised:

Prior to Departure

Check the latest travel advisories in your home country and follow the guidelines carefully.  Authoritative advice for UK citizens can be found at NHS Scotland’s fitfortravel and Public Health England’s National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).  The advice and guidelines can sometimes be targeted at those travelling specifically to China but Charity Challenge considers these sensible precautions regardless of expedition destination.  

Limit your risk to exposure by avoiding people or places where risks of infection may be high.  Following your country’s official guidelines carefully will reduce your chances of unwittingly becoming a carrier. 

Do not join a trip if you feel ill or think you may have been exposed to the virus.   There are early reports that the virus can spread asymptomatically i.e. the virus may be transmitted to you via an infected individual who has no idea themselves that they are infected and who shows no signs or symptoms of being ill.  Please do not risk the health of your fellow expedition companions.

Ensure you have adequate health cover to ensure comprehensive cover should you fall ill prior to the trip and have to cancel or require medical support and /or evacuation on the trip itself.

Take extra hand cleansing products such as alcohol-based hand washes.  Currently there is insufficient evidence to support the use of face masks but that may change. If however, you feel more comfortable when transiting airports, you may consider wearing a face mask.

During the Expedition

Maintain extremely high hand and personal hygiene standards.  Hand washing with soap, water and clean towels regularly is the best and, where not available, use alcohol-based hand cleansers.  Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, use tissues only once, disposing of them promptly and carefully, wash hands frequently.

Avoid sharing personal items like drinking bottles

Avoid close contact with people who appear unwell and their personal items

If you become unwell with a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, promptly seek medical attention through your Challenge Leader.  Follow all medical advice given.

On Return Home

Pay attention to your health on return, particularly over the first 14 days.

If you develop symptoms such as those mentioned above or any other ‘Flu like’ or respiratory illness during this period, follow your country’s guidelines carefully, which will likely suggest calling medical providers by telephone in the first instance for advice, to avoid inadvertently spreading the virus.  In England the advice is to call NHS 111 and explain your circumstances.

Inform Charity Challenge immediately if you develop symptoms so that others in the group can be informed, authorities contacted, and any control measures can swiftly be put into action.

Charity Challenge will continue to adhere to international guidelines and be directed by official government authorities.  Participants are advised to keep abreast of developments and apply caution.  Charity Challenge is confident that trips will be run safely and just request participants to play their part and help by following the guidelines carefully


Update: 29th January

The outbreak continues to spread with confirmed case numbers and fatalities increasing, although mostly still limited to China; numbers outside China are generally still low and mostly single digit.  There are four cases in Europe: three in France and one in Germany.  There have now been reports of the first cases of domestic infection outside of China, in Japan and Germany.  Currently patients commonly present with mild illness although roughly 20% of patients suffer severe symptoms; its widely believed to still predominantly be a risk for the elderly or those with compromised health.

In what is now very much a globally coordinated effort to halt the spread the disease, the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has now advised against all but essential travel to mainland China

Furthermore, companies are independently responding, including suspending flights to China.  The global effort to address this emergency is phenomenal, particularly from China itself, and confidence in managing this epidemic is currently high.  The outlook is hard to predict but experts in China suggest that the epidemic could peak in as little as a week to 10 days.

Due to the new FCO advice against travel to China, Charity Challenge will be cancelling all trips to China that are due to depart over the next 2 months and remain confident that existing trips departing later in the year will remain unaffected. 

Groups and individuals whose challenges are affected by this cancellation are being contacted directly to discuss options and to make alternative arrangements.

This advisory will be updated regularly and should any developments in the situation seem likely to impact on challenges scheduled for later in the year, we will contact the relevant participants and groups immediately to discuss options.


Update: 27th January

The novel (new) coronavirus, 2019-nCoV, outbreak is spreading as predicted with the first reportedly officially recognised cases in Europe reported in France on Friday 24th January from patients who had all travelled from Wuhan; the key factor being these were not transmissions from human to human within Europe, as is happening in China, although it is widely accepted as just a matter of time before this changes.

The number of confirmed cases in mainland China has reportedly risen to almost 3,000, including 81 fatalities.  At this stage the majority of deaths are still linked to either the elderly or those with pre-existing respiratory problems.

As the outbreak progresses the WHO continues to prepare, coordinate and update on a global level, and governments are responding accordingly.  The FCO have increased the restrictions and now advise against all travel to Hubei Province.

Charity Challenge continues to monitor the situation closely.


Original Advisory: 23rd January

Overview

Charity Challenge has been monitoring the latest developments with the China coronavirus outbreak which was first detected in late December 2019 in the city of Wuhan, Hubei Province, a region which Charity Challenge groups do not visit.

As of 22 January there have been 440 cases and 9 fatalities officially reported, including 10 cases (but no fatalities) in Beijing, a city which does feature on Charity Challenge itineraries.  In addition, the virus has spread from infected individuals from Wuhan to Thailand (2 cases), Japan (1 case), the Republic of Korea (1 case), Taiwan (1 case) and the United States of America (1 case).  The virus is thought to be part of the wide family of diseases which includes the less severe common cold and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which people recall from 2003. Current unverified reports suggest most of the fatalities have been amongst the elderly or those suffering from other chronic diseases.

It is currently too early to assess the impact this will have in China, regionally in SE Asia and globally and most authorities are waiting for more information upon which to make judgements.  The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently only advise against all but essential travel to Wuhan itself, and Public Health England state the risks to travellers to Wuhan itself is moderate and advise travellers there to maintain good hand, respiratory and personal hygiene.  The World Health Organization (WHO) does not recommend any restrictions to travel or trade and the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), Fit For Travel and the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China are monitoring the situation closely and providing updates regularly.

What Charity Challenge is doing

The response by Charity Challenge will be very much dictated by the advice and instructions from higher national and international authorities.  

As a precautionary measure however, Charity Challenge is re-screening the medical declarations of all participants who are due to travel to China and countries in south-eastern Asia over the next 6 months, who may be at greater risk to respiratory illnesses.

With such a quickly evolving and dynamic event happening, it is too early to predict the outcome of this outbreak and undoubtedly there will be much discussion and development over the next few weeks / months.  We continue to monitor the major sources of reliable information such as the FCO and the WHO.

The first Charity Challenge trips to the region are not departing until late March and currently there is no reason to cancel or find alternative options for these trips.  Charity Challenge, along with their Chinese in-country partners who are already in contact, will continue to monitor the situation closely and should anything change that may impact on the safe delivery of the challenge, any affected groups will be contacted directly.

Participants should direct any concerns to Charity Challenge who have dedicated staff responsible for safety and security.

Destination

MIND Hike 2020 – Whitby

January 10, 2020

2020 will be the 6th year of the ‘Mind Hike’ and it promises to be the best event yet! Every year the Mind Hike takes place in a new location, and so earlier this week our UK Operations manager, Andy Baker, was up in Whitby putting the final touches to this years event. Here he explains why this years Mind Hike will be better than ever!

“The Mind Hike is always a special event for Charity Challenge. It has always had a unique feel and there has always been an incredibly supportive environment over the weekend. It’s for this reason that our leaders always look forward to this event more than any other each summer. Over the years the team at Mind have created a great way of grouping people into different ‘teams’, and the aim of the event is to support each team member to complete the challenge. It isn’t about distance, but about supporting each other to complete the 24 hours of walking. It’s a bit of different event, and was designed specifically for Mind as mental health is all about supporting each other.

For 2020 the Mind Hike is heading to Whitby and everyone who takes part this year will be staying in the YHA that is right next to the iconic Whitby Abbey, up on the cliff tops above the town. Anyone who hasn’t been to Whitby before is in for a real treat, with cobbled streets winding around the old harbour and, of course, the famous 199 steps that wind up to the abbey. It’s a classic old historic Yorkshire fishing town, and there is a reason why Dracula arrived in the UK here!

For each Mind Hike we always have 2 different routes, the day route and the night route. This year both routes are fantastic. The day route will take everyone along the cliff tops all the way down to beautiful Robin Hood’s Bay, a classic old fishing village set right at the foot of the cliffs. Everyone will have time to recharge their batteries in the village before the route loops back to Whitby via the old railway line. Having just walked this route, even in blustery January it was a beautiful walk with the coastline stretching away into the distance, so in the summer it should be spectacular.

The night route will then head north of Whitby, before returning along the beach and then up those famous steps to the finish! If ever the celebration breakfast will have been earnt it will be after finishing a 24 hour challenge by climbing 199 steps to a gothic abbey!

The location for this challenge couldn’t be better. The YHA is set right next to the abbey and people will be staying in an old tudor mansion that has been converted into the hostel. It’s a perfect location for what should be a great challenge.”

The Mind Hike takes place twice every year. In 2020 it takes place on 26-28 June and the 11-13 September. To apply please visit https://www.charitychallenge.com/challenge/245/Mind-Hike-UK

Don’t forget, there is 10% off your registration fee before the end of January 2020. Use the code NY20.

News

The Best of 2019 from the Charity Challenge leaders

December 24, 2019

As 2019 comes to a close, the year we celebrated 20 years of operating epic challenges, we look back on everything we have collectively achieved with YOU – our heroic adventurous participants – and to share our gratitude to all those involved:

  • Tens of thousands of brave adventurers
  • Thousands of epic challenges in more than 40 countries worldwide
  • Across 6 continents
  • Helping us raise in excess of £59,000,000 for over 1,800 worthwhile global causes

Thank you for your continued support and for helping us to be agents of change for so many great charities. 

Thank you to the staff, leaders, doctors, ground crews and every single person that has helped to create, prepare and operate our challenges around the globe.

We look forward to working with you in the future and we wish you a very happy, healthy and adventurous 2020!

Looking back on 2019, these are the moments that hold a special place in the hearts of our Charity Challenge leaders.

Penny – Madagascar Trek

Trek Madagascar

One of the poorest countries in the World, Madagascar still manages to be one of the richest in hospitality, laughter and community spirit. Whilst we faced the challenges of excessive heat, sterilised warm river water to drink, steep rocky terrain and long demanding trek days, the local children would run barefoot in rags from remote villages with grins on their faces and intrigue in their eyes and make us instantly forget our own aches and pains. The team of porters with us filled every evening with music, song and dance creating a unique and magical end to every Malagasy day. The highlight of the challenge has to be summiting Pic Boby, the second highest peak on this island but the interaction with the special people of Madagascar surpassed anything I have experienced and this inspiring group of participants and I embraced every moment.

Tom – Sahara Desert Trek

Sahara Desert Trek

One of my highlights of 2019 was the Sahara Desert Trek in Morocco. It is a unique trek in terms of both terrain and scenery. The moment you arrive in busy and colourful Marrakech you know you are in for a fantastic experience. The local team (including their camels!) are great with superb overnight camps in stunning locations. The food they produce in the middle of the desert is really tasty and wholesome. The daytime sun and heat is relentless, but early starts mean you make the most of the cool mornings and evenings. Hiking up and over the sand dunes is great fun. You can also meet desert Nomads and get a better understanding of their culture. I would go back again to do this trek just to experience the night skies once again – I have never seen the Milky Way so vividly – incredible!

Ian – Trek Machu Picchu

Trek-Machu-Picchu

In October I travelled to Peru with a group to trek the rugged and demanding Ancascocha Trail – a spectacular 5-day trek through the Andes mountains, finishing at the fabled city of Machu Picchu via the famous Sun Gate. I was delighted to help support the participants on this tough challenge. As Challenge Leaders we try to generate a “team approach” and a supportive, positive atmosphere among our groups. This particular group were always 100% committed, listened to advice throughout and embraced the entire challenge experience positively. Some confronted and overcame personal challenges along the way with our assistance. They all worked tirelessly to support each other, and laughed, joked and celebrated their success together. They were determined to savour the whole experience – and they also raised over £93000 for their chosen charities! I thoroughly enjoyed working with them.

Danny – Icelandic Lava Trek

Icelandic-Lava-Trek

The Icelandic Lava Trek was my favourite trip of 2019. This was initially due to the unusual lunar-like scenery we encountered right from our first night camping in the crater of a (fortunately!) extinct volcano to the smoking fumeroles, misty upper plateau and luminous green, yellow and blue mosses which were sprinkled around and across our paths like some impressionist artist’s palette as we made our way up, down, around and along the 55km Laugavegur Trail. Chilly nights in camp and sleeping on barren, if mostly flat ground tested the team’s endurance but each day brought a feast of visual, physical and culinary experiences which kept them longing for more: whether it was looking forward to the next ice-cold knee-deep river crossing or the next spectacular waterfall hidden in a depression just a few 100m from the main trail. And whilst we were unlucky not to see the Northern Lights whilst on the trek itself it didn’t detract from the chance to relax in steaming hot springs in the darkness.

Laura – Great Wall Discovery

Great-Wall-of-China

My favourite memory of 2019 is from a Great Wall Discovery Challenge. The team were strangers from around the world. They faced 733 flights of steps together, supported each other on steep descents and celebrated with the local firewater. They each came with their own personal challenges and the group of strangers became a support network who shared something that will always be uniquely theirs. By the end of the week, they had already made plans to take their new experiences and learnings back across oceans with them. From taking up old hobbies to changing relationships, from making more ‘me’ time to a 180° turnaround of mindset. By the time we got to our celebration meal, they had made new promises to themselves and the meal became not just a celebration of all that we’d achieved over the last week but also a celebration of the positive change to come.

John – Cycle Sri Lanka

Cycle-Sri-Lanka

This year saw me leading cycling trips for Charity Challenge, and a new destination too – Sri Lanka! The trip was for the charity ‘The British Asian Trust’ and I was joined by 21 other cyclists to explore the fabulous country. Our route took us along the beautiful coastline with rustic markets full of fish from the morning’s catch. A quick transfer to the hotel that evening and a visit to the amazing Temple of the Tooth in Kandy. More riding the next day took us through the tea plantations that Sri Lanka is so well known for and a chance to visit the beautiful Dambulla Rock Temples. We also rode through the jungles of Sri Lanka and the ‘Elephant Corridor’, a protected area of the national park where elephants can just cross over the main road… No guessing who has the right of way! The day finished with a trip around the ancient ruins of Polonnaruwa with monkeys running everywhere. The final day was spent riding through another national park taking in sights of water buffalo, monitor lizards and blue herons then finishing our journey with a climb of 1200 steps to the ancient royal palace on the summit of Sigiriya Rock. It was a real pleasure to visit Sri Lanka. The people were incredibly friendly, I was waved at by everyone! The scenery is just beautiful and there is wildlife everywhere! I enjoyed it so much, I’m going back in March 2020 to lead another cycling trip! Oh, and the food!…

Richard – Amazon Survivor Challenge

In May of this year I found myself in Brazil supporting a team on the Amazon Jungle Survivor Challenge. This is a demanding 5 days of living and travelling by either trekking or canoeing through the Amazon rain-forest. Most of this challenge was completed by canoe because at that time of year the forest is flooded with the normal pathways being covered by at least 8 meters of water, making trekking somewhat difficult. From the start the team really took to the challenge, trekking through the forest with our guides looking for food, paddling through the water highways in locally built traditional canoes (which do require a surprising amount of baling out) looking for dolphins, howler monkeys and fishing for dinner. Each campsite had to be built from scratch but once the team were comfortable in the environment, they soon started making tables and bench seats much to the delight of the local crew. The challenge most certainly put the team out of their comfort zone, but it was the way that they came together through work and laughter to overcome the challenge made it a really memorable trip.

Just can’t wait to make your own memories? Visit Charity Challenge to choose your next challenge