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 create employment, contribute to the local economy and inject funds into community projects. Over the years, we have donated more than £500,000 to local community projects here and overseas.
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.
As well as employing local guides, porters and support staff and using locally-owned accommodation where possible, Charity Challenge supports projects and charities which operate in the countries we visit.
Since our very first challenge, we have donated almost £500K to charities and projects in the UK and overseas. We have also offset over 13,100 tonnes of carbon emissions with ClimateCare. 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!
Senior Operations Manager
Carmel’s interest in travel first began after experiencing life in South America at the tender age of 18. After spending 6 months living in Ecuador and a further 2 travelling around the continent, she decided to continue the study of languages, graduating with a degree in French, Spanish and Latin American Studies. Carmel was lucky enough to spend a year of that degree working on a French island in the Caribbean, where she discovered the joy of hitchhiking, and also took her first steps towards a diving qualification. She has since worked as a tour leader in Argentina and on a ski resort in France, as well as hitchhiking through Europe, trekking in the Andes and across the Landmannalaugar trail in Iceland, and climbing Mt Roy in New Zealand. Since being settled at Charity Challenge she now gets her adrenaline rush through performing on stage with a local Amateur Dramatics society – see her perform in Palmer’s Green!
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 deciding to settle in London, he started working for a wildlife conservation travel company before joining Charity Challenge. Ben longs to go on every we run – he has no favourites!
Maria is our number crunching management accountant who ensures everything at Charity Challenge adds up! She is a part-qualified ACCA, who joined our team in 2014. She has recently taken up a course in advanced Excel and her next working goal is to master MySQL. Maria enjoys going for long cycle rides in the countryside, hiking along the coast and having summer picnics that usually involve eating traditional Belarusian draniki made according to a secret family recipe. She has a passion for going to the theatre and learning foreign languages, which she likes to practice on trips overseas. Maria is currently training for a cycling challenge in the south of France.
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 including Kilimanjaro, Everest Base Camp, Annapurna Circuit, Jordan Desert, Great Wall of China, Machu Picchu together with some cycling challenges from Kenya to Tanzania and London to Paris. 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.
With over 20 years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector, Neeta is a meticulous and enthusiastic accountant who heads our finance team. Before joining us, she provided financial consultancy to entrepreneurs who were starting and building up their businesses. Merged together, her knowledge and ethical experience have been great assets for Charity Challenge. Outside the office, she enjoys running, swimming, hot yoga, cooking and hiking. She is an inspiration to her two teenage sons, who often join her when she goes cycling or climbing. She is passionate about volunteering and fundraising and has previously raised money for local community groups and a charity for underprivileged girls. Neeta has also spent time helping out at an orphanage for children with special needs in rural India.
Bookings and Operations Assistant
Tom's interest in travel started through a year's work experience through university where he worked for a ski resort in America, which allowed him to go skiing and snowboarding on the surrounding mountains and travelling around America. He then went on to complete his Masters in Tourism, and caught the cycling bug, which has allowed him to incorporate travelling at the same time. He has completed several cycled challenges, such as John O Groats to Lands End taking in Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales on the journey, cycling the length of Ireland from Malin Head to Mizen Point, Copenhagen to Hook of Holland, London to Paris and cycling from Lands End to North Cape in Norway, taking in 9 different countries!
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 return 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.
BELIEVE >> ACHIEVE >> INSPIRE