What we're about - There are many varied motives for embarking on a Charity Challenge, which are often inspiring and require great courage. It may be a death in the family, overcoming an illness or simply the desire to break the mould. Whatever their reasons, participants all come wanting a challenge - and we never disappoint.
Heat. Cold. Exhaustion. Elation. Fear. Euphoria. Loss. Gain. Heights. Plains. Hunger. Feasts. Early starts. Late finishes. Speed. Stillness. Tough times. Good times.
In order to value that moment of triumph at the end, the expedition must be genuinely challenging. But don't take our word for it - that's the response from the tens of thousands of participants we've looked after over 16 years. Our participants have collectively raised in excess of £47million for more than 1,700 good causes worldwide.
Honesty and integrity - We are 100% transparent about our challenge costs, who pays what, how much is funded by you and the balance payable by the charity. This is made explicitly on our website, when you book and in fundraising materials. It's vital that everyone - especially donors - are fully aware of where the money goes.
We aim to provide transparent pricing and clear instructions as to what is and isn't included in our prices. Rest assured that Charity Challenge includes ALL known air taxes (including fuel) at the time of costing.
Charity Challenge leads the way in responsible operation, ensuring local communities in the host countries benefit directly from our challenges. All our expeditions contribute to the local economy.
Our ethos - Our long-term strategies and short-term actions are moulded by our core values, shared by every member of the Charity Challenge team.
PASSION AND INSPIRATION: We're passionate about adventure travel and helping thousands of people to experience life-changing journeys, while raising millions for charity. We are immensely proud of what we do and our achievements.
HONESTY AND INTEGRITY: We are always honest, truthful and transparent in the way we work.
EXCELLENCE: We strive to deliver challenges and customer service of exceptional quality that add value to all involved. We never compromise on safety because without it, there is no quality. We always look to improve what we do and aim to exceed expectations.
RESPECT: We ensure that all stakeholders are treated with respect and that our challenges are respectful of local communities, wildlife and the environments in which we operate.
Experience - Over more than 16 years, Charity Challenge has worked with tens of thousands of individuals, charities, corporate organisations and private groups. We have operated hundreds of treks, bike rides, mountain climbs, horse riding, skiing, dog sledding, snow shoeing and white water rafting expeditions, in every environment from mountains to deserts and including the North and South Poles!
Safety - We consider the safety and welfare of our participants, staff and support crew to be a top priority. As such, we developed Challenge Safe, one of the most advanced and thorough safety management systems in the industry. Rest assured that we will always do everything we can to carefully assess the risks on a challenge and then introduce appropriate safety measures.
Support - We provide you with a huge array of advice and guidance on everything from fitness training to fundraising, travel insurance to visas. You will get access to your own secure account zone, to help you prepare and make the most of your challenge. Most of our staff have undertaken challenges and raised money for good causes, so we can provide you with everything you need to succeed.
Recognition - In 2015, Charity Challenge's co-founder and director Simon Albert was honoured at Westminster Palace with a British Citizen Award for Business. The accolade was in recognition of having helped tens of thousands of individuals to achieve incredible personal goals, while raising in excess of £47,000,000 for more than 1,700 worthwhile causes.
Awards - Charity Challenge was voted the Best Challenge Company by the charity membership of the Institute of Fundraising in both the 2013 and 2014 Partners in Fundraising Awards. In addition, we were highly commended by both the Queen's Award for Sustainable Development and the Virgin Holidays Responsible Tourism Awards for our Community Challenge programme.
Comic relief - In 2009 we organised the very successful BT Red Nose Day Kilimanjaro Climb for a host of high-profile people, including: Gary Barlow, Cheryl Cole, Chris Moyles, Denise Van Outen and Fearne Cotton. The expedition raised a staggering £3.35million. In 2013, we organised the BT Hell and High Water challenge along the Zambezi for participants including Jack Dee, Mel C and Dara O'Briain.
We aim to set responsible tourism standards, to minimise the impact of our challenges on the environment within which we operate and, above all, to ensure local people benefit from tourism.
To view our responsible tourism policy click here.
We have partnered with GoFilm, a professional production company that works to bring you inspiring and authentic film of your challenge. GoFilm equips you with the kit and knowledge to capture beautiful high-definition footage of your challenge and then turns this into a fantastic film that acts as the ultimate memento of your experience. We understand the challenges you face, the reasons you have chosen to get involved and we hope that a film will reflect that perfectly. It’s great for relaying your experience to friends and family, thanking sponsors and seeking last minute support from anyone who hasn’t done so already.
Since the business was founded in 1999, we have worked with many people and organisations to support our challenges and our participants. They joined us on our incredible journey developing new ideas and innovative ways to work.
We work hard to ensure we select the right companies and staff to work with. They include ground handlers, tour leaders (both UK and local), guides, assistant guides, cooks, porters, doctors, drivers and paramedics. All play a vital role in our challenges and are selected on their ability to support and lead, motivate and inspire.
Our focus is on you and your challenge, your journey and your needs.
A huge amount of research, planning and hard work goes into designing, organising and running every challenge we operate. This, along with an incredible amount of ideas, energy and enthusiasm makes Charity Challenge what it is - a world leader in the provision of fundraising challenge events. Our team is made up of the most diverse group of people from around the world including South Africa, Australia, Kenya, Malawi, Peru, Spain and Belarus! They cover roles in operations, flights, account management, marketing and sales, administration and finance.
If you feel that you have the motivation to inspire and encourage people to venture well out of their comfort zones and would like to join our team, please do get in touch. Any new opportunities to join Charity Challenge will all be advertised on social media first, so keep your eyes peeled. Thanks for your interest in Charity Challenge.
Co-Founder and Director
Simon has travelled extensively throughout the developing world, climbing mountains, rafting rivers and helping local NGOs to build schools and health centres. Having completed a Business Studies degree, he trained as a brand manager working on Nescafe coffee. He began charity trekking as a participant in 1995 to Jordan and then climbed Kilimanjaro the following year. He identified a niche in the expeditions market and, on returning to the UK, voluntarily organised two expeditions to Cuba and Tanzania - both of which were a huge success. At the age of 27, and having raised more than £100,000 for charity, Simon set up Charity Challenge with co-director and best friend Jeremy Gane. He has personally taken part in many of the challenges. These have included building houses for orphans and vulnerable children in South Africa, as well as for families affected by the Asian tsunami in India and Sri Lanka. Simon has also personally led and organised challenges around the world. His passion for helping others is what drives the constant development of the business. In 2015, his efforts were recognised with a British Citizen Award medal for Business. Simon is married with three young sons and can’t wait until they can join him on a trek to Everest Base Camp or to visit the temples of Angkor Wat.
Marketing and Database Projects Manager
Firdous has been working for Charity Challenge for the last 10 years and knows the company inside-out! Having successfully completed a Management and Marketing degree at Brunel University, Firdous has since developed and project managed our new branding and website together with being our marketing and social media guru. In her spare time, Firdous loves to bake with her little daughter – Great British Bake Off watch this space! As much as Firdous loves Charity Challenge, she has yet to take on a challenge herself, with a fear of popping to the ‘loo’ behind a rock… we’re committed to unleash Firdous’s adventure travel bug very soon!
Charity and Corporate Account Manager
Erika has an excellent understanding of UK and overseas challenge events, having worked as a fundraiser for eight years with Oxfam, Alzheimer’s Society and Breakthrough Breast Cancer prior to joining Charity Challenge. Erika is incredibly passionate about adventure travel and inspiring others to achieve their goals, and enjoys spending time ticking items off her own personal bucket list (kayaking with whales is the next priority on the list)! One of Erika’s biggest personal highlights was volunteering as a GamesMaker at the London 2012 Olympics, which involved escorting Roger Federer to Centre Court at Wimbledon! When she’s not in the office working with charities to deliver successful world-class events, Erika is kept entertained by her lovable, slobbery and highly energetic Boxer dog Vinny!
Mireia left the sunny shores of Spain, her homeland, in 2009 to travel the globe. On her travels she has led tours around India, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and the African continent. While in Africa, she unleashed her inner Mother Teresa, spending her spare time working with local NGOs on humanitarian and sustainable projects. After nine months living in South Africa and a further six months living and working in India, she eventually headed for Britain – where she has been living for the last six years. Mireia works as an operations manager and is currently doing a masters degree in Responsible Tourism Management. Nowadays she stores up her annual leave to explore new destinations and see friends around the world. She also makes a mean Spanish omelette!
Ben’s wanderlust developed from a young age when his parents ‘dragged’ him to the Alps to learn to ski and snowboard, while many summers were spent in Malaysia visiting family. After his studies, he moved to Canada for a year, where he worked in Whistler and Montreal. He then landed a job with Greenpeace in Prague, before eventually moving to Budapest where he stumbled into tour guiding. After travelling through Turkey, Syria and Jordan (where he realised his Indiana Jones dream of visiting Petra), Ben spent three years leading tours around the best of what Europe has to offer. Finally he decided to settle in London, where he started working for a wildlife conservation travel company before joining Charity Challenge. Ben longs to go on every challenge we run – he has no favourites!
Business Development Manager
Chad left his home country of South Africa 19 years ago to go travelling for a few months, somewhere along the way he was bitten by the proverbial travel bug and just kept on going. He's lived and worked on 6 continents and finally settled in London in 1999.
Part llama, part pisco, Sylvana was born and bred in Peru where she began her career in tourism, leading groups around her homeland and the rest of South America. A keen trekker she has tackled the Andes multiple times, and now has Everest Base Camp in her sights. Joining the Charity Challenge Operations Team in 2014 she is the oracle on all things South America and the Indian sub-continent, and has conquered our Sahara Desert Trek – returning with some of the most impressive blisters of all time! She now lives in Essex where she has tried to broaden local culinary horizons by running a small supper club dishing up Peruvian cuisine. Though she has yet to don white stilettos and fake tan, she has fully embraced the good old English pub and Friday night drinks!
Head of Sales, Marketing & Partnerships
Initially from Australia, Sue moved to the UK in 2004 filled with the adventure travel bug. Having worked on numerous charity projects in Australia, Sue joined the Challenge Events Team at Macmillan Cancer Support where she spent eight years primarily heading up their successful running events programme raising over £26million. Sue has tackled numerous treks across the globe including Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Circuit, Jordan Desert, Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu and Papua New Guinea together with cycling challenges from Kenya to Tanzania, European 3 Countries and London to Paris. Extremely passionate about the great outdoors, Sue has completed ultra marathons in Madagascar, Australia and UK and also undertaken her Mountain Leader Training in North Wales. As the Head of the Sales, Marketing and Account Management Team with Charity Challenge, Sue brings a wealth of charity experience, strategic planning and marketing together with offering the highest level of relationship management and support. Sue loves being part of the Charity Challenge team and working with numerous charities and corporates to ensure their objectives are met and all participants experience the challenge of a lifetime.
Bina has 17 years experience in the airline industry having worked for Aer Lingus and SriLankan Airlines both in sales and airport experience and is also trained in IATA fares and ticketing part1 and part 2. Born in Malawi, educated in India(Ooty) and studied further for a Business Studies Diploma in the UK, Bina is also a qualified beauty Therapist and a spiritual healer (REIKI)!
Born and brought up in Kenya, Sharmee discovered her passion for travel at a young age and completed her travel diploma in London. Since graduating, she has always worked in the travel industry and has over 14 years of experience working both in Kenya and now in the United Kingdom. With a brain like a calculator she joined the Charity Challenge Finance team where she handles sales invoicing for all our challenges and also manages credit control. Travelling has certainly been Sharmee's passion and one of her favourite hobbies. She has been very fortunate to stay in some of the best hotels and resorts during her travels to various exotic places in the world. When she's not travelling, Sharmee is dreaming about her next destination! She also enjoys cooking, entertaining and eating out.
Head of Operations
Holmes spent much of his early life immersed in wildlife and conservation while travelling the world with his family. Inspired by these experiences, he went on to study zoology and spent every holiday volunteering in conservation, mostly in Africa and Latin America. Holmes went on to spend a decade in the infantry, where he developed a passion for travel and expeditions. After a brief spell learning osteopathy, he joined an overseas experiential expedition company where he specialised in incident handling and managing trips in remote destinations, often at altitude. He joined Charity Challenge in early 2016 and, when not planning his next trip, can be found knocking holes in walls or wrestling his newborn son into a sleepsuit.
After graduating from university with a history degree, Dave embarked on an expedition to Kilimanjaro. That was the start of a lifelong passion for adventure travel. He’s been racking up adventures ever since, including memorable trips to Borneo and Everest Base Camp. A keen climber, Dave is usually at his happiest hanging off a rock face. He recently returned from living in the deserts and mountains of Oman, where he was an adventure guide and survival instructor for the Bear Grylls Survival Academy. Originally from Liverpool, Dave is new to London but is now looking forward to setting his sights on fresh experiences and marathons, in a bid to stay active in his new office role.
Andy has always been passionate about the African continent and has spent several years tracing the footsteps of early African explorers into some of the wilder regions of the continent. After completing a degree in African Studies, Andy combined his passion for trekking with his studies and moved to Egypt. Here he spent several years working for the EU on a tourism development programme aimed at training local Bedouin mountain guides. Andy then established his own trekking company based over in South Sinai and continued to run treks throughout the revolution. Andy returned to the UK to undertake a Masters degree in Responsible Tourism and begin a new segment of his career at Charity Challenge. Andy holds the Summer Mountain Leader award and has worked as a mountain guide in the UK and abroad. He has also been described as "witty and knowlegeable" by a recent charity challenge participant.
Phili has always had an adventurous spirit and a passion for food and so has travelled the world in search of the best dish – no conclusion has been reached yet, so the travels haven’t ended just yet. She started her career in the corporate world but after a stint of volunteering realised that the charitable sector was more her style. After volunteering for a year and then working in Malaysian Borneo with an NGO for two years she has returned to the UK the long way round via Mongolia and China.
British Challenge Leader
Never happier than up a mountain, usually declaring to those around me that “life could be worse,” I have been lucky enough to fulfil my ambitions and dreams many times over. With a childhood spent on the fringes of Dartmoor National Park and on the beaches around the South Devon coast, I was permitted a freedom to explore which I still value today. A three month expedition under canvas in Southern Chile in my early twenties firmly cemented my passion for travel and adventure. Following a career in the Army, I settled down long enough to raise my two wonderful children and see them independent and successful before the itchy feet returned and I retrained as an Outdoor Instructor working in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset. This varied role allowed me to instruct in climbing, mountain biking, high ropes, mountaineering, canoeing and kayaking. Whilst as an Operations Manager for a Dartmoor based outdoor company, the opportunity arose to pursue a career as an Overseas Expedition Leader with Charity Challenge. Since then I have been lucky enough to lead cycling, running, trekking and even horse trekking challenges in many parts of the World, including Iceland, Sumatra, Mongolia, China, Cuba and Burma. In a brief gap between trips, I completed the Tour de Mont Blanc and recently enjoyed some canyonning and via ferrata in the Italian Dolomites. I now lead walking breaks in the North Yorkshire Dales with my partner, Henry. Extraordinarily last year, I was approached by a publishing company who asked to turn some of my very roughly scribbled notes into a e-book which I never saw coming but proved an exciting venture. There is little more satisfying than sharing in someone's success and I look forward to being there with you on your challenge to cheer you on and see the fulfilment on your faces.
British Challenge Leader
Trevor believes the world is too small to cram into just one life, but he’s giving it his best shot! He’s been fortunate enough to experience some of the most spectacular and breath-taking places on Earth, from the towering slopes of the Himalayas to the burning deserts of Arabia. He has a background in design and print, with a lifelong passion for travel. Besides being an expedition leader, he has also worked as a dive master, a ranch hand and a mural artist and has been involved with Charity Challenges and Community Challenges throughout Asia, Africa and Latin America. His adventures have included a Rajasthan cycle ride with Denise van Outen and a Kilimanjaro trek with Martina Navratilova. When not working on our community projects, Trevor volunteers with his local Lifeboat station.
Will joined the travel industry more than eight years ago and has had wanderlust ever since. After pedalling through the south of France, he picked up a keen interest in cycling; exploring Spain, Morocco and the UK on two wheels, before taking part in the RideLondon-Surrey 100 in aid of WWF. When he’s not in lycra, Will has a passion for photography, video and social media, useful tools for the avid marketer! Will recently moved from the Surrey Hills to the hustle and bustle of London, joining Charity Challenge shortly after.
BELIEVE >> ACHIEVE >> INSPIRE