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Dartmoor Challenge for Prince’s Trust Team

Published on: 20 Mar, 2012
Updated on: 20 Mar, 2012

A group of 16- to 25-year-olds from Guildford YMCA’s Prince’s Trust Team took off to the wilds of Dartmoor to face a range of team and personal challenges.

Beginning their week-long trip on March 5, they managed to survive the weather, the pared-back living conditions (with minimal phone signal!) and the challenges. They have returned with a deserved sense of satisfaction at their achievements.

It was just the third week of the latest Prince’s Trust Team run by Guildford YMCA at Plantation Cafe, Guildford. The heat was on to push each young person as a key part of preparing them to find direction for the future.

All the young people are out of work for one reason or another and the 12-week course gives them the skills and confidence to find a job. More than three in four young people who complete Prince’s Trust schemes move on to work, education or training. The Prince’s Trust will help 50,000 disadvantaged young people this year, giving them the confidence and skills to turn their lives around.

Guildford YMCA's youth programmes manager Jon Pickerill is transported across the moors by the young people on their final challenge of the week.

The Guildford Team is being led by Zoe, a psychology student from the University of Surrey currently on her placement year, and Jules, a secondee from Surrey Police.

Jules has worked with Surrey Police since 2005 and has worked in training, HR and most recently ICT as a project officer.

She’s thoroughly enjoying spending time with young people and doing something so different to her ‘day job’.

As far as the week on Dartmoor was concerned she said: “It was a fantastic week – it was so satisfying watching everyone get stuck in, even when people were scared about the 100ft abseil off a bridge! The most fun I’ve had in a long time.”

On Dartmoor, Zoe and Jules presented the young people with tough tasks including building their own raft to paddle across a lake. The team were given four barrels, six poles and a lot of rope. After about 30 minutes they had created something that didn’t look particularly float-worthy.

However, once the team had carefully manoeuvred the raft into the lake and carefully got on, the raft did float…for a short distance.  It was really satisfying to see was how the young people worked together and help each other get back to the shore with all the equipment.

The young people were stretched in all sorts of ways. One said; “It was an amazing week because it helped me get over fears and gave me the opportunity to get to know the group better.”  Another added: “A once in a lifetime experience!” and “It was absolutely wicked! It got me to do new stuff!”

Now back in familiar territory the team will continue with the next part of the course, fundraising for and delivering a community project. They will get advice on how to write CVs as well as gaining nationally recognised qualifications.

Over the next couple of weeks they will also be looking for two-week work placements.  If you can offer work to a young person Zoe and Jules would love to hear from you. Call them on 07876785677.

Not every person that starts the course will complete it. It takes determination and stamina, particularly for those that have not been in education or regular work for some time.

If you know of a young person that would benefit from this opportunity a new Reigate team will start in the autumn. Call 01483 888122 to register an interest and visit or

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