Polly’s Challenge

Opportunities for Isle of Wight children

Polly’s Challenge is a funded programme for Island children aged 10 – 14 years during the school holidays.
Five action packed days to help build confidence and a sense of adventure.

About Polly’s Challenge

Polly’s Fund was set up in memory of Polly Birch, who had a passion for sailing. Her family and friends are proud to continue the challenge in her memory by removing barriers so that outdoor adventure is accessible to everyone.

Polly’s Challenge offers Isle of Wight children a special opportunity to join us at UKSA for a fully funded five-day sailing course or multi-activity watersports adventure. These courses would usually cost around £250 per person. The courses run during the school holidays enabling children to have fun, be adventurous and learn new skills through participation in outdoor activities.

Who’s it for?

All Island children in school years 6+ who have taken part in a UKSA Test the Water programme and have any type of financial need (FSM/PP/SEN/UC/IN CARE) can take part in Polly’s Challenge. The funding enables those who may not be able to afford to get back out on the water after taking part in the Test the Water programme.

The adventure never ends

After your first Polly’s Challenge course, the adventure doesn’t need to end there. If your child dreams of becoming as cool as their watersports instructor or the captain of a yacht, they can come back again the following year.

At UKSA we aim to create structured pathways for children and young people, which is why we want to invite your child back again and again, and after Polly’s Challenge maybe they could try one of our other courses for teenagers like Sea.Change? UKSA  provides all the specialist equipment that each child needs; lunch is also be included. All they will need to bring is a swimsuit, towel, and shoes they can get wet (full kit list will be provided).

As part of the challenge, we ask each young person to fundraise a minimum of £20 that goes straight back into Polly’s Fund, to enable the programme to support more children in the future. We encourage the children to do this through sponsorship like cleaning cars, tidying their room, or helping a neighbour in need, but they can be as creative as they like!

Every child takes something away from each course, whether that’s feeling a little more confident to speak, standing a little taller knowing they can achieve anything, a future they might never have dreamed of or a happy memory that will last a lifetime.

The Ethos of Polly’s Challenge

“Appreciate the people around you, adventure with them, buy less stuff and go out to experience the world. Laugh, dance and have fun. Respect the world and look after the bees.” – Polly Birch

Make a donation

Get involved

Part of Polly’s Challenge is raising a minimum of £20 sponsorship to be able to take part in the activity week. The money that each child raises goes straight back into Polly’s Fund, which enable us to keep the programme running for years to come, meaning more and more young people get to experience the thrill of a water-based adventure.

You can be as creative as you like with your fundraising, don’t be afraid to think outside of the box! If you would like any help with your fundraising, please get in touch and our fundraising team will be more than happy to support you

Not a Polly’s Challenge participant but would still like to do some fundraising?

Each year the demand from Island families is growing, and more and more children who might otherwise miss out due to the cost are visiting UKSA thanks to Polly’s Fund. In 2024 we need to raise around £20,000 to cover the cost of the programme. Which is why we need your help!

Have a fun fundraising idea of your own? Or want to take part in one of our challenge events please get in touch. We would love to hear from you.

Polly’s Challenge Impact Report 2023

Help fund an adventure on the water

Looking to the future, Polly’s Fund is committed to continue supporting Isle of Wight young children, to give them the opportunity to have an adventure just as Polly wished. All money raised helps to make this dream a reality and give young people who have had their normality and freedom altered a chance to unleash a passion for adventure and the sea with their friends.

There are limited spaces available so follow the three steps below:

Step one – Enquire

Drop us a line either by telephone to 01983 203001 or by e-mail to [email protected]

To provisionally book a space, you will be asked which date you are interested in, details about your child, and contact details for yourself. You will then be sent a sponsorship form which your child needs to complete to confirm their space on the programme.

Step two – Get sponsored

From tidy bedrooms, walking the dog to washing the car, each child is asked to raise a minimum of £20.00.

Step three – Complete booking

To confirm your child’s place, please contact [email protected] to pay in sponsorship money and sponsorship form.

Don’t just take our word for it

Parent of a Polly’s Challenge Participant

“My son Brody has benefited so much from the Polly’s Challenge course, he was quite shy and not usually one to enjoy being out of his comfort zone but he absolutely took to the challenge with his confidence and enthusiasm growing each day. It has taught him to have a go at new things without fear of failure and he has used Polly’s Challenge as the inspiration to apply to the Wildlife Trust competition with his project plan to “look after the bees”, just as Polly Birch said”.