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Nine young people from North Wales will set off this weekend on the trip of a lifetime in a yacht race against young people from other Northwest force areas.
The Chief Constable’s Challenge will set sail from Portsmouth on Saturday 22 October and their voyage will finish at the Royal Albert Dock in Liverpool on Friday 28 October.
Earlier this summer, the Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Serena Kennedy, challenged all four Northwest forces to take to the seas for a yacht race.
Previously postponed due to the Covid pandemic, it will see four 72ft Challenger yachts with groups of young people onboard from North Wales, Merseyside, Cheshire and Greater Manchester taking part.
Merseyside Police Chief Constable, Serena Kennedy said: “The Chief Constable’s Challenge, which is in its third year, is about creating an unforgettable experience for some of our most deserving young people to provide them with the confidence and skills that will help them navigate their way through life.
“I wish all the officers and young people taking part the best of luck. I’m sure they will embrace this fantastic opportunity and put their all into making sure they cross the line first.”
North Wales Police Deputy Chief Constable, Chris Allsop, said: “The Tall Ships Youth Trust Experience is an incredible opportunity for young people to realise their potential while making new friends, learning new skills, and building on their teamwork and social skills - irrespective of their home lives or previous life experiences.
“But most importantly, I hope all those participating who have overcome adversity and continued to succeed have fun and make the most of this life-changing experience.
“I wish the North Wales team the very best of luck in crossing the finish line first.”
The young people, aged 15-17 years old, were nominated by their respective schools and selected by an independent panel.
The trip, run in partnership with Tall Ships Youth Trust, will see the young people take part in all aspects of sailing, from cooking and cleaning to setting the sails and taking the helm of an ocean-going racing yacht.
Tall Ships Youth Trust (TSYT) CEO, Alastair Floyd, said: “We’re delighted to be teaming up with the four forces for these voyages, which will be a unique and challenging opportunity for the youth crews involved.
“We’re looking at extending our reach, specifically in areas where there is a high percentage of young people experiencing some form of disadvantage.
“The challenge is a great opportunity for us to spread the word about our vital work and support young people from across the Northwest.”
Working with the Oceanographic Department in Liverpool John Moores University, they will also be involved in a research project about sea pollution.
They will live on board the yacht, working in shifts to complete duties throughout the day and night.
It is hoped the experience will develop the youngsters’ long-term life skills including team working, confidence building and problem-solving skills.
The North Wales vessel’s trip received significant funding from the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT) and supported by the High Sheriffs of Clwyd and Gwynedd.
Ashley Rogers, PACT chair of trustees said: “I am delighted that PACT has been able to support the Chief Constable’s Challenge which gives these young people a fantastic opportunity which I am sure will benefit them for many years to come.”