The initial ambition of BRIT was the creation of an inspirational centre of excellence to support, inspire and motivate young people who have physical and mental health challenges.
Our vision was shared by over 55 charity Chief Executives who partnered with BRIT, offered to act as Advisors and championed the need to a Centre where they would either run bespoke residential courses, provide specialist staff and/or refer their young people facing adversity and trauma.
THE BRIT CENTRE CONCEPT
From the outset of the founding of BRIT, Inspirational Figures from sport, music, the arts and business began to champion our work as Ambassadors and Mentors. They offered their time to support and improve young adult mental health by acting as BRIT Ambassadors or to volunteer as BRIT Mentors and being willing to spend time inspiring young adults if we could secure the funding to build a Centre.
YEAR-LONG TOUR TO UNDERSTAND YOUNG ADULT MENTAL HEALTH IN THE UK
To understand the extent of the need to support young people suffering from physical and mental trauma, in 2012 our Founder and CEO set off on a year-long 2012 mile tour of the UK to raise awareness of BRIT and to meet educational institutions, staff, carers, charities and young people throughout the UK.
Concurrently, the tour would provide an opportunity for young adults and staff from their respective charity or educational organisation to join him each day as he walked in their county. Phil walked 2012 miles throughout every county of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, including Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney and the Isle of Man. He was hosted by universities, colleges, schools, special needs schools and charities, and joined on each day’s walk by staff and students. Lord Lieutenants and representatives from The Emergency Services and Her Majesty’s Armed Forces supported Phil in almost every county.
With his spinal cord injury, 1 mile is the equivalent of 3 to 4 miles for someone without a spinal cord injury. Phil completed the equivalent of 310 marathon distances in 331 days.
Unexpectedly, the 2012-mile BRIT Challenge became a catalyst for students, young people and staff to join Phil each day and use the opportunity to talk about their mental health. Tens of thousands, many of whom had disabilities, took part to raise awareness of young adult mental health and add their voices to the need for BRIT.
SHARING OUR CENTRE CONCEPT & COLLABORATING WITH OVER THE WALL
During 2019/20, a new opportunity arose that we felt would lead to the very real prospect of a dedicated residential facility being built within the next few years. Whilst our CEO’s health continued to improve, we wanted to seize an opportunity to join forces and maintain momentum. The BRIT vision to build a dedicated facility remains at the very heart of this new collaboration led by Phil and Kevin Mathieson, the CEO of Over the Wall.
Over The Wall (OTW) www.otw.org.uk is a national children’s charity that provides free therapeutic residential activity camps for children and their families who are experiencing serious illness and chronic health challenges. It is the ambition of OTW to build an iconic, all weather, state of the art facility for use, as a national centre, by all children’s charities across the UK.
Having had many detailed discussions, we were convinced that a collaboration on the building of a national centre will stand the best possible chance of success, whilst maintaining the integrity and aspirations of both charities. There is a natural synergy between our organisations and BRIT was founded to work in support of charities; this collaboration embraces that intent.
“I am one of over 50 charity Chief Executives who not only believe in BRIT, but has also offered my support and experience as an Advisor”.
Alison Cox MBE
Founder and Former Chief Executive
Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY)
THANK YOU TO OUR CENTRE CONCEPT CHARITY PARTNERS
All the charities who partnered with us for the planning of the BRIT Centre of Inspiration have been invited to continue their support and partner with Over the Wall (OTW). Phil invited the Chief Executives of over 55 national charities, who stepped forward as Advisors to BRIT, to offer their continued support to OTW for the Centre Collaboration build.
We are grateful to all the charities who partnered with us to shape, guide and support our Centre vision.
Kevin Mathieson, CEO of OTW, invites charities and corporations to find out more, continue discussion and explore potential collaborations with OTW. Allan Jolly is Head of Partnerships and Evaluation at OTW email@example.com or 07703219059).
The collaboration with Over the Wall meant that BRIT would focus solely on non-residential inspirational support to young adult mental health. Changes were made to our Governing Article and subsequently approved by both our Trustees and The Charities Commission.
BRIT'S FOCUS ON YOUNG ADULT MENTAL HEALTH
With Over the Wall leading on the vision for a Centre, our intent is now on delivering an annual campaign, event and inclusive mental health and wellbeing physical challenge for young adults.
The mental health of young adults has never been so important, particularly with the recent impact of COVID 19, and we hope you will continue to support us in our determination to provide a legacy through an annual inspirational team fundraising challenge – BRIT 2021 Challenge
THE NEED FOR BRIT TO COLLABORATE
The level of support for BRIT and our vision for a Centre was extraordinary. Between 2013 and 2015, we conducted land searches and continued to secure strong strategic partnerships, however due to Phil’s unexpected ill-health between 2016 and 2019, and as the driving force of BRIT, it became increasingly challenging to convert the political and strategic will into an operational plan capable of turning the vision into reality without him.