Lights….Camera….Community Channel and Challenge Wales Action

This post is written by Max, our newly appointed Administration Assistant with Challenge Wales.

The last day of April was an interesting one for me. Instead of turning up to the office, sitting down at my desk and working through the morning emails, I was outside sat on the deck of Challenge Wales. Today was the day of filming with a TV crew from the Media Trust and Community Channel.

They were filming a series called ‘Brilliant Wales’ where the Community Channel travel around the country filming brilliant community stories; about events, charities and people and today it was ‘Lights Camera Action’ for Challenge Wales.

The day started out like most other sailing days on Challenge Wales, with a welcoming cup of tea in the galley with the rest of the crew. Two trustees, two volunteers, two staff (one of which is me!) and a few young people were onboard and were going to be part of our filming day. After the cuppa the film crew arrived at Penarth Marina raring to go. They took a few shots of the boat in the marina and interviewed Vicky, one of the Challenge Wales trustees, as we did our best to look busy in the background hoisting the sails from the sail locker up onto the deck. Once they had the shots they wanted we got everyone on board, donned lifejackets and set off into Cardiff Bay.

When we were in the Bay we went through a few drills to give the TV crew an idea of what young people do when they are sail training with us. What surprised me the most was the knowledge and ability of the young people on board. They had all sailed with us before on one of our many youth development voyages, but some not for a few months. When we first started the trip they were a little shy as they were from different youth groups and schools so not everyone knew each other, but very quickly gained their confidence. This reminded me of what Richard, a regular Challenge Wales crewing volunteer, had told me when I met him at the charity’s 5th birthday celebrations at the Senedd (the Welsh Assembly) in Cardiff. He told me it was a hugely rewarding feeling when you see the change in young people from their first day on board the boat to their last day. I felt like I had experienced a snapshot of this today.

We filmed throughout the morning with the film crew requesting different shots and activities. One of the shots they wanted was of someone climbing up the mast. Richard, one of the young people on board volunteered. He was fitted with a camera to his head whilst one of the Challenge Wales crew talked him through the safety harness equipment he had to wear, safety procedures and how to move up the [95 foot] mast. Once everything was ready to go Andy, the Skipper, and Bob, one of the crew, helped hoist Richard up the mast. Richard reached the top and must have had a brilliant view of Cardiff Bay from the top of the mast, I am looking forward to seeing the footage from it and hope it appears in the programme! The young people, crew, trustees and myself were also interviewed as part of the programme (thought at the time of writing this we don’t know how much has ended up on the cutting room floor or how much will appear on the programme!).

Before I realised, the trip was coming to an end. I felt like I learnt a lot from this particular ‘voyage’, it wasn’t about the sailing but about what the Challenge Wales charity is all about. It’s about bringing the best out of young people and helping them fulfil their own potential.

The Challenge Wales episode will be broadcast at 8.00pm on May 11th on the Community Channel, which can be viewed on Sky 539, Virgin 233, Freeview 63 and Freesat 651. It’ll be repeated on Monday 12th at 7am and then repeated the following Sunday (the 18th) at 8pm again….shame the charity doesn’t get royalties for the repeats but even so it is fantastic that we’ve been featured! The programme is ‘Brilliant Wales’ and we expect to be the first feature in the programme.

Want to tweet about the programme?  Don’t forget to use #somethingbrilliant @ComChanTV and @ChallengeWales


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