Five business owners who live in and around the Cotswolds have come together to support local young people who have had their GCSEs and A levels cancelled.
The Cotswold Challenge initiative was developed solely to support 16 to 19 year olds in the Cotswolds area to give them something creative to do and offer them the chance to excel, gain a sense of achievement and self-worth and maybe win a monetary prize. The Challenge launched Monday April 20 and remains open until noon on Monday June 1.
Young people who take part must live in the Cotswolds area and for those under the age of 18 parental or guardian permission will be sought if they wish to participate. It does not matter which school they attend. A briefing pack and entry details are available via the website www.thecotswoldchallenge.com
The Challenge has been divided into three categories Art & Design; Creative Writing; Innovation & Entrepreneurial Thinking with a first, second, third and fourth prize in each category of £500, £300, £150, £50 and runners up will get a book token.
The prize money has already been donated in full by sponsors. Winners will also be able to pitch for additional funds to take ‘the next step’ in showcasing their work eg. publishing their poem or short story in a local publication, staging their own art exhibition or taking an idea to an early prototype stage.
Sponsors for the project include:
- The Fred And Marjorie Sainsbury Charitable Trust
- Jeevan Thandi of Karhoo
- Timothy James & Partners, independent financial advisers
- Jason Houghton, Salperton Park Estate, Cheltenham
- The Fairford & Lechlade Business Club
- Royal Agricultural University, Gloucestershire
- The Paperback Shop, of Fairford
- Marion Whittaker
- Author Kevin Wignall
- Meg Rivers Bakery, of Shipston On Stour
- Suzannah Harvey, CEO of Cotswold Airport
- Kim Harvey of The MadHatter Bookshop, of Burford.
- Nicky Godding, founder of Business & Innovation Magazine
- John Biddulph, of Rodmarton Manor
- Emma & Jamie Tuck of Bulldog Websites, of Swindon
- Allison Murray of Allison Murray Design, of Eastleach
- Barry Jackson, of Aspire Academy
Bettina Harvey of Hector & Queen
Nigel Chute, of Chute Design said: “We are so grateful to our business contacts who have, without hesitation, supported this project. They see the value to the community and to the young people involved and they’ve fallen over themselves to help. In fact due to their support we’ve been able to offer more than we originally envisaged.”
Entries will be judged by a team of well-known people who have themselves achieved success in their own sector or business.
Brand expert Allison Murray, of Allison Murray Design, is one of the entrepreneurs behind the project who call themselves The Cotswold Collective.
She said: “Many of the young entrepreneurs of tomorrow no longer have any direction because their formal exams have been cancelled; some don’t know if they can get into colleges or universities in September and many can’t even get part-time jobs or see their friends at the moment. Their world has ground to a halt at a time when they expected the opposite.
“We felt we wanted to make a small, positive gesture in this community to tell young people that we value them and want to see them flourish and encourage them to follow their dreams even during lockdown and Covid19.”
Details of the competition, the criteria for entry and the briefing pack are all available via the website www.thecotswoldchallenge.com