Sporting Challenge 2018 Short Break

Hedley Foundation :


Sporting Challenge based in West Lancashire are one charity who have benefited from funding from the Hedley Foundation.

Sporting Challenge received £1,000 in January to go towards their 2018 Short Break.

The Hedley Foundation is a grant giving charitable foundation which supports small to medium sized charities which work with young people.

William Hedley was born in Newburn, Newcastle in 1773 and went to school in Wylam, 8 miles to the west. He became a colliery manager at the age of 22 and was one of the leading engineers trying to improve the system of transporting coal by horse power along wooden trackways. Cast-iron plate rails (with the flange on the rail rather than on a wagon wheel) were laid at Wylam Colliery in 1808 and William Hedley developed the system of coupling of wheels which gave locomotives with smooth wheels sufficient adhesion, even on smooth rails, to haul a train of loaded wagons. This he patented in 1813, the year in which he also unveiled his famous locomotive, Puffing Billy, with a revolutionary and reliable design to carry power to the coupled wheels.

Puffing Billy marked a major stage in the development of railway locomotion. George Stephenson, generally credited as “father of the railways” (and also brought up and living in Wylam, though it was said he and Hedley were not the best of friends) did not produce his Rocket until 1825. Puffing Billy remained in use until 1862. Although they later moved to the Lake District, William Hedley’s descendants remained coal mine owners until nationalisation in 1947.

The Hedley Foundation was set up in 1971 and endowed from a family trust of which the principal asset was the compensation received on nationalisation. It is a registered company and a charity.

The principal aim of the Trustees’ grant-making is to effect change for the better in the lives of young people.

Sporting Challenge is a family led charity started in 2008 operating in West Lancashire supporting people with learning disabilities, where all members of the Board of Trustees are parents and carers themselves. The charity is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year.

The charity aims to provide sporting activities to encourage people with learning disabilities to keep fit and healthy. They organise activities that our members feel are most beneficial to them in improving their health, fitness, well-being and enjoyment of physical activity and those which they are most likely to continue with. These activities include: Aerobics, Bowling, Boccia, Kurling, Zumba/Dance, Swimming and other Fitness Activities.

They currently support around 46 people in the West Lancashire area to access a variety of activities by providing transport to and from their homes and the appropriate sessional workers to support them whilst carrying out the activities. This number is set to grow over the years to come. Around a third of its members are aged 16-22.

Activities Coordinator Edward McCarthy: “I would like to thank the Hedley Foundation for their very generous funding award. The group really enjoyed the 2017 break so I am sure this years’ one will be just as popular !”

For more details visit or call 07971 299606.