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Simon Dean, awarded OBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours

We are delighted to announce that Simon Dean, our founder and CEO as been awarded an OBE in Her Majesty’s The Queen’s 90th Birthday Honours List for his services to education.“I feel deeply privileged to have been awarded an OBE” he said. “It is wonderful honour in recognition of all my amazing team at Challenger Troop and their passion and hard work in transforming young people’s lives”

Simon founded Challenger Troop CIC in 2007 with a determination to outreach, engage and positively improve the potential of children and young people through a full-time professional provision aimed at supporting youth, particularly those who are vulnerable and disengaged from their education and local communities.

Since it’s inception, the organisation has grown from its small roots in West Kent to one of the UK’s leading providers of military ethos programmes; winning many awards including receiving the High Sheriff of Kent’s Award for community youth engagement earlier this year, and is currently Kent County Council Chairman’s Charitable Organisation of the year 2016/17.

“Through the opportunities provide on our programmes,” describes Simon, “we take young people out of their comfort zone, challenge them as individuals and as a team, in a safe, structured and disciplined environment in order to address negative learnt behaviors, raise self-esteem, and create opportunities for our participants to develop their self-confidence and be self-motivated, so that they can realise their own potential and succeed in life.”

Alongside his work with Challenger Troop, Simon is also a Major in the Kent Army Cadet Force working as a volunteer community engagement and recruitment officer and was former Officer Commanding (OC) of B Company, Folkestone. He continues to support the work of the South East Reserve Forces and Cadets Association (SERFCA), actively supporting their covenant objectives for service children and veterans in our community.

“This honour is in recognition of not just the work I have done throughout my career, but most importantly recognition of my colleagues within Challenger Troop, the Army Cadets and all those who have supported me on my journey, especially my wife and family. Without their “understanding”, support and commitment, I would not have been able to fulfill my ambition to support the lives of and enhance the opportunities for over 35’000 young people to date” said Simon.

Jo Blackwell, Director of Operations at Challenger Troop, and a founding member of staff, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that Simon has received this award. For the past nine years he has worked tirelessly to ensure that children and young people can access life-changing opportunities that will develop their character and self-confidence.”

Challenger Troop has a proven track record of engaging and enhancing the lives of hard-to-reach youth in our society, partnering with schools and community groups across the South, London and East of England. The organisation’s instructors are predominantly ex-service personnel who are highly skilled and trained to engage and support vulnerable young people, instilling key core values and building skills for successful transition into employment, education, training and their home communities.


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Posted: 11, June, 2016
by Kevin Campbell

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