Lodge Hill adapts ‘ChallengeU’ programme for young people with Asperger’s

Since Lodge Hill Trust launched their ChallengeU programme in 2014 it has gone from strength to strength. Lodge Hill is a 32 acre outdoor educational and activities centre for young people set in the heart of the South Downs National Park near Pulborough. The Trust provides outdoor activity based facilities for those aged 7 years old up to corporate team building.


ChallengeU is a unique, holistic, outdoor activity-based early intervention programme for young people who have disengaged with society aimed primarily at any young person of concern who may have offended, be at risk of offending, exhibiting anti-social behaviour or not engaging in education between the ages of 13 – 17.

Young people face a robust approach with consistent boundaries and structured stimulating days. The modules focus on the individual, challenging attitudes and promoting pro-social behaviour. For younger age’s Lodge Hill also provides one to one modules. These individual modules benefit those who aren’t suitable for group work, or post group work, if appropriate and relevant.

Growing across the country

Since its launch ChallengeU is now receiving a growing number of referrals from Schools across the County, with five Schools having requested their own bespoke courses. However referrals come from a wide range of sources, e.g. colleges, social services, youth offending institutions, foster agencies and even direct from parents themselves. Courses are specifically run during half term breaks and at term ends, and Lodge Hill can fit in bespoke courses during school terms.

The Challenge has recently been adapted for young people with Asperger’s where the focus is on social interaction, life skills and enjoying outdoor activity within a highly structured programme. Thus far the Trust has worked with young people who, because of their anxiety, have found it difficult to leave their homes, let alone travel to Wales on expedition. The Trust has successfully supported these young people to do just that.

Continued development is a major part of ChallengeU. By following up after courses the Trust ensures that contact with participants is maintained with the professional staff at Lodge Hill, so that the benefits and lessons learnt on the course are not lost. Participants are encouraged to return for contact days, team building and expedition skills’ learning.

This usually progresses to a 4-day expedition in Wales, undertaking night navigation exercises, entering mines and caves, and climbing to the summit of Pen Y Fan Mountain in the Brecon Beacons. Living and eating together whilst staying in the same bunkhouse and working as a team promotes social behaviour, helps ensure that participants learn how to live and get on with each other as in everyday life, and substantially reduces the risk of challenging behaviour and offending.

For further details of this life changing programme contact [email protected] or phone the Activities Manager, Jamie Gordon on 01798 831411 (Ext: 233).


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