Over 100 Olympians, Paralympians, Sports Personalities and Explorers unite to support young adult mental health and fitness at universities and colleges throughout the UK
With the impact of COVID-19 compounding existing mental health issues and many young adults feeling isolated, The British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) launched the BRIT 2021 Challenge in January to improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK.
The BRIT 2021 Challenge is a 2,021 mile team challenge (to be completed by 1st July 2021) and a feel-good fundraiser to improve mental health and fitness, all whilst raising vital funds to support young adult mental health. Every UK university, college and students’ union are invited to register to take part, enter teams, and support student and staff participation, both on campus or at home.
The BRIT 2021 Challenge has been designed to be inclusive and enable individuals of all abilities to take part and work as a team to cover the 2,021 mile distance by either hand-cycling, cycling, wheelchair pushing, swimming, walking, jogging, running, rowing or paddling (canoeing, kayaking or paddle-boarding).
BRIT delivers inspiration by inviting British sporting icons (BRIT Ambassadors) to support their local university or college and encourage, inspire and thank students and staff for taking part in BRIT’s Challenges. These BRIT Ambassadors are current and retired Paralympians, Olympians, sports personalities, adventurers and explorers; all of whom understand the challenges, trauma and adversity that young adults face in their lives.
Since the launch of the BRIT 2021 Challenge, well over 100 Olympians, Paralympians, Sports Personalities and Explorers have joined the BRIT Ambassador family and are encouraging every UK university and college to enter teams; especially during this week’s Mental Health Awareness Week. These British sporting icons are also encouraging fellow elite athletes to join the BRIT Ambassador family and unite in support of young adult mental health, including Sir Steve Redgrave CBE DL;
“It has been my pleasure to support BRIT for many years as they have strived to support young adult mental health throughout the UK, raise vital funds and deliver inclusive opportunities for young adults to improve their mental health and fitness. Supporting young adult mental health has never been so important and I applaud BRIT for their visionary approach to collaborate with education and sport governing bodies and organisations.”
BRIT is striving to unite the education, sport and charity sectors and has partnered with a wealth of education and sport governing bodies who are urging universities, colleges and students’ unions to participate in the BRIT 2021 Challenge. Teams can still register at www.TheBRITChallenge.org.uk
The Committee of University Chairs (CUC), Universities UK (UUK), the Association of Colleges (AoC), ColegauCymru, Colleges Scotland and the National Union of Students (NUS) are all partnering with BRIT to promote the BRIT 2021 Challenge and encouraging their members to take part. It is hoped that this collectively powerful approach will ensure over five million Higher Education and Further Education students and staff have the opportunity to participate.
Professor Julia Buckingham CBE, President of Universities UK, is urging every Vice-Chancellor to support the BRIT 2021 Challenge and enter teams;
The BRIT 2021 Challenge follows the success of a similar event last year – The BRIT 2020 Row Britannia Challenge – which saw almost 100 institutions take part to improve young adult mental health and fundraise for BRIT’s partner charities. BRIT has received overwhelming support from universities, colleges and students’ unions to deliver an annual inspirational and inclusive event. This year’s challenge is supported by an array of sporting ambassadors including Dame Katherine Grainger DBE, Sir Steve Redgrave CBE DL, Dame Kelly Holmes MBE (mil) and Sally Gunnell OBE DL.
Every UK university, college and students’ union is invited to enter teams in the BRIT 2021 Challenge and encourage student and staff participation; either on campus or at home. Teams can still register to take part at www.TheBRIT2021Challenge.org.uk All funds raised will be shared equally between;
· Student Minds
· PAPYRUS – Prevention of young suicide
· The Charlie Waller Trust
· The British Inspiration Trust
BRIT is supported by leading experts in young adult mental health, a wealth of British sporting icons, chief executives of national charities, education and sport governing bodies and universities and colleges throughout the UK; post-launch, almost 80 institutions are already taking part.
BRIT has three aims;
· Support student mental health, fitness & wellbeing and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness
· Deliver inspiration to young adults with the support of British sporting icons
· Raise vital funds for BRIT’s collaboration of mental health charity partners
From the moment the charity was launched in 2011, BRIT has been determined to collaborate and work closely with other charities. Over 60 charity CEOs have supported the BRIT vision and aims by providing advice or working in partnership. In addition to the five mental health charities who will be beneficiaries of funds raised through the BRIT 2021 Challenge, BRIT is championing the services of numerous frontline mental health charities including The Matthew Elvidge Trust, Samaritans and SHOUT. This is to ensure young adults are aware of the support and services available to them.
BRIT does not employ any staff to reduce overheads and relies upon sponsors, gifted professional services and volunteer support. Phil Packer, BRIT’s Founder and Non-Paid CEO, said;
“Driven by the consistent rise of mental health challenges faced by young adults, we will do everything in our power to support young adult mental health in the UK and, by raising vital funds for our charity partners, save lives. To enable BRIT to deliver, I implore businesses, philanthropists and sponsors to unite with us and increase our UK-wide impact on improving young adult mental health and fitness. Together we have an opportunity to be collectively powerful."
Media enquiries should be directed to Press@BritishInspirationTrust.org.uk
QUOTES FROM THE BRIT WEBSITE – www.BritishInspirationTrust.org.uk ;
“I urge athletes from every sport to join the BRIT Ambassador family. This will ensure that each of the 450 UK universities and colleges has a champion to inspire as many of their students and staff as possible to take part in the BRIT 2021 Challenge. This Call to Action goes out to all current and former Olympic and Paralympic Athletes and Sports Personalities to help increase participation at their chosen university or college.
By joining the BRIT Ambassador Family, current and former Olympic and Paralympic Athletes and Sports Personalities can be collectively powerful in supporting young adult mental health throughout the UK and have an extraordinary impact on increasing team participation and national awareness.”
Sir Steve Redgrave CBE DL
Five time Olympic Gold medallist
“I applaud BRIT for their collaborative approach; their work to unite the Education, Sport and Charity sectors is inspiring. I have known BRIT’s Founder, Phil, for many years now and his vision to support young adult mental health resonates with me both personally and professionally.
It has been a pleasure to be part of the BRIT Ambassador family, and support the charity over the past 10 years, as they strive to help support and improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK. It is an awesome achievement to have conducted well over 400 visits to universities, colleges and schools, and continue to engage UK universities, colleges, students’ unions and students throughout the UK by delivering their BRIT Challenges.”
Dame Kelly Holmes MBE (mil)
Double Olympic gold medallist
“The COVID-19 pandemic is adding to the mental health challenges that young adults face; including feelings of isolation and loneliness. I wholeheartedly support the BRIT vision to support young adult mental health and am inspired by their BRIT 2021 Challenge to improve young adult mental health and raise vital funds for charities that deliver vital support.”
Rebecca Adlington OBE
Olympic Gold Medallist
"Charities that support young adults need help to raise vital funds and this is why BRIT exists; to unite in support of young adult mental health. I know Student Unions and students have amazing energy, enthusiasm and determination when it comes to raising funds for great causes. BRIT’s 2021 Challenge is a 2021 feel-good fundraiser that enables students to take part wherever they are; on campus or at home. It’s a great way of improving mental health and fitness, raising vital funds and having fun.”
Naomi Riches MBE
Paralympic Gold Medallist
“Positive mental health and resilience are so important for young adults and this is heightened with the additional challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic; there has never been a more important time to deliver inspiration.
To improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK, the British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) are delivering annual UK-wide BRIT Challenges and inviting British Sporting Icons to unite, join our BRIT Ambassador family, and encourage, inspire and increase young adult participation in their BRIT 2021 Challenge.
I encourage all athletes, current and former, to join me and make the BRIT 2021 Challenge an inspirational event throughout the UK. There are 450 universities and colleges in the UK and if each has a BRIT Ambassador to champion their student participation, we would have an extraordinary UK-wide impact on both supporting and improving young adult mental health."
Paralympic Gold Medallist
Notes to Editor:
· To ensure BRIT remains relevant and understands the impact of mental health difficulties faced by young adults throughout the UK, universities, colleges, schools and charities have hosted over 400 visits to meet their students and staff since 2012.
· During the 5-month BRIT 2020 Row Britannia UK-wide tour, 130 BRIT university and college visits took place. This resulted in an even greater insight into the devastating impact that mental health is having on so many young adults and students.
· The BRIT 2021 Challenge is an inclusive (adaptive sport) mental health, fitness and wellbeing challenge to fundraise, create wider young adult engagement and raise positive awareness of mental health and suicide prevention.
· The BRIT 2021 Challenge is a 2,021 mile team challenge to be completed between now and 1st July 2021 in order to raise vital funds for a collaboration of mental health charities.
· Teams can still register for the BRIT 2021 Challenge by visiting www.TheBRITChallenge.org.uk
· The BRIT 2021 Challenge is designed to be completed by individuals working as a team to cover the 2,021 mile distance by either Hand-cycling, Cycling, Wheel-Chair Pushing, Swimming, Walking, Jogging, Running, Rowing or Paddling (Kayaking, Canoeing or Paddle-Boarding).
· BRIT delivers inspiration to young adults with the support of their BRIT Ambassadors. If visits to universities and colleges are not permitted due to COVID-19 restrictions, these British Sporting Icons will provide video messages and support students through social media platforms.
· BRIT's long-term aspiration is for young adults to drive the charity forward by taking on integral roles (with support from mentors) and be empowered to make decisions of how the charity operates and what BRIT events are delivered annually. BRIT is keen that in addition to young adult representation for inclusivity, diversity, disability, LGBTQ+ and BAME, every region of the UK has young adult representation within the charity.