“Working with these young people and professionals everyday fuels our creativity and passion.”

We have been where these young people are now. We know what it is to be disillusioned and disengaged from the world. We know what it is to feel powerless in making the decisions that will set the course of your own life, to believe the world is against you and that nobody cares whether you fail or succeed. We’ve taken wrong turns and made unhealthy choices. And we’ve turned our lives around to create something we can be truly proud of.

Challenge Me is the culmination of more than 25 years’ experience working with young people.

Our founders, Ian Calder and Dave Gregory, have first-hand experience working with some of the most hard-to-reach young people across the spectrum of settings, including multiple youth offending teams, prisons, PRUs, schools and alternative provisions, as well as with young people in care and residential settings. Dave and Ian’s determination to facilitate positive change for disadvantaged young people led to them playing founding roles in the establishment of the Manchester Multi-Agency Gang Strategy (MMAGS), a group that brought together professionals from the police, probation service, social care, education and youth organisations to have a positive impact on the lives of young people in the region.

The feedback from the young people themselves really hammered home the potential for change.

The statistics told us the project had been a success. The feedback told us the young people had been inspired to take control of their futures and with the support of a relatable team that offered a respectful, mutually trusting environment, they had been able to move away from the belief that the course of their lives had been pre-determined by their circumstances. They had a new sense of self-belief.

The experience with MMAGS highlighted the astonishing level of need within the community – a level way beyond what the available support services could handle. Economic cuts had seen many services withdrawn, at exactly the same time as more and more families began struggling to stay afloat in a sea of rising unemployment and social deprivation. It was amid this harsh reality that Challenge Me was born.

Challenging Me is a bespoke Mentoring Programme to inspire, encourage and empower hard-to-reach young people.

Alongside Managing Director Sophie Melia, Dave and Ian channelled their own experiences into coming up with a way of engaging and connecting with these young people on a level that would make a real difference to their lives. Drawing on Sophie’s decade of experience working with young people and the professionals supporting them across a variety of educational settings, the three of them developed a bespoke mentoring programme to inspire, encourage and empower hard-to-reach young people. This became the Challenging Me programme.

The passion we have for facilitating the kind of change that improves outcomes for young people doesn’t stop there. We know this type of life-altering, fundamental change doesn’t begin and end with us, and that we need the support of the professionals who are working with these young people on a daily basis. That’s why we developed additional programmes, such as our CPD accredited training programme, to support the adults who are working on the frontlines with these young people.

Working with these young people and professionals everyday fuels our creativity and passion.

We’re committed to continuing improving outcomes for all young people. Because we know that with the right support and the right modelling of healthy, trusting relationships, young people are in a much better position to achieve their full potential, and go on to build happy, authentic, fulfilling lives.

Mentoring

Mentoring is a powerful tool for supporting hard-to-reach young people:

Education Mentoring
Social Outreach Mentoring
Looked After Children Mentoring

Training & Workshops

CPD-accredited training programmes for adults who regularly or routinely work with vulnerable young people.

View Our Training & Workshops

Programmes

Our team of experienced practitioners have developed a suite of programmes designed to help improve outcomes.

View Our Programmes

‘Helping one person might not change the world but it could change the world for that one person’

Meet the team

Sophie Melia

Managing Director

Sophie Melia has been working to improve outcomes for young people for more than a decade, performing various roles within the education and care sectors. Fuelling everything Sophie does is the belief that every child deserves to feel empowered to want the best from life and have the opportunity to go after their dreams, whatever they might be. Now, as Managing Director of Challenge Me, Sophie is channelling her years of knowledge and experience into helping give young people across the region the best possible start.

Dave Gregory

Founder

For more than 25 years, Dave Gregory has been working with some of the most disadvantaged and hard-to-reach young people in the country. He’s been where many of these young people are, and he knows just how desperate life can seem when you feel powerless to make a change. Dave was able to turn his own life around, and now draws on his personal experiences to make a significant positive impact on the many young people in the region who are facing similar life challenges. Everything he does is with a commitment to inspire change and support growth for the most vulnerable young people in the country.

Ian Calder

Founder

Ian Calder has been supporting the most vulnerable, hard-to-engage young people in the country for more than 25 years. Through his work both in the community and in various educational settings, Ian has helped turn around the lives of many disengaged and disadvantaged young people – and that is the work he’s dedicated to continuing through Challenge Me. Ian has been a real champion in the community for young people struggling with social, emotional, behavioural and mental health challenges, working with the Home Office, multiple youth offending teams, schools and pupil referral units to effect meaningful change and drive conversations towards positive outcomes.

Don’t just take our word for it:

Menu