• Phil Packer

Thank you to Universities UK for supporting the BRIT Challenge

The British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) launched the BRIT 2021 Challenge in January to improve young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK.


We forged a partnership with Universities UK (UUK) who have worked tirelessly to assist with our BRIT 2021 Challenge this year.

The BRIT 2021 Challenge was 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 were invited to register to take part, enter teams, and support student and staff participation, both on campus or at home.


The BRIT 2021 Challenge was 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).


Over the past two years, almost 180 university, college and Students' Union teams have taken part in our annual BRIT Challenge and our vision is to deliver the BRIT Challenge every February to support and improve young adult and student mental health and fitness.


The former President of UUK, Professor Julia Buckingham CBE FMEdSci, urged every university Vice-Chancellor to support the BRIT 2021 Challenge and unite with us in order to support & improve young adult mental health & fitness.

​John de Pury has been instrumental in coordinating the invaluable support we have received from the UUK Team. John is Assistant Director of Policy at Universities UK and currently leads policy programmes on HE Innovation and Health and directs the UUK Health Research Networks.


We are sincerely grateful to Julia, John and also to Alistair Jarvis (Chief Executive), Alastair Sim (Director, Universities Scotland), Amanda Wilkinson (Director, Universities Wales), Michael Thompson (Deputy Director of Communications & External Affairs), Clara Plackett (Senior Press & Social Media Officer) and Kristen Hinds (Executive Assistant, Policy Group).


We are also grateful to Professor Steve West CBE DL FRSM FRSA, who has supported BRIT as Vice-Chancellor and President of the University of the West of England (UWE) Bristol, Chair of Universities UK Mental Health in Higher Education Working Group and as the newly elected President of Universities UK.


"Universities across the country are increasingly focusing on how we can engage with and support more effectively our staff and student communities. We do this in partnership with many other organisations and people. The British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) delivers inspirational opportunities for our communities to come together to raise awareness, have fun and raise money for the charities who help us to improve mental health. What sets BRIT apart, and why universities across the UK should come together with FE colleges to take on BRIT’s Challenges, is their collaborative approach to unite institutions in support of young adult mental health. In light of COVID-19, we need BRIT’s 2021 Challenge to complement our own support to students, and staff, in order to improve mental and physical health. I ask every Vice-Chancellor and College Principal to embrace, support and promote the BRIT 2021 Challenge as a feelgood February fundraising event for students and staff to take part in and improve their mental health and fitness; be that on campus or at home. As Vice-Chancellors, we have the ability to increase participation and fundraising capability by providing resources to our students, writing to our alumni and encouraging business partners to donate. If ever there was a time to come together and underpin BRIT’s collectively powerful approach, it is now.”

Professor Steve West CBE DL FRSM FRSA


Our relationship with UUK has grown from strength to strength over the past three years. We hope that this special relationship will continue as we deliver the BRIT Challenge as an annual February feel-good fundraiser for every UK university to be part of and in order for every student and staff member to have the opportunity to participate.


Thank you to everyone at UUK for their tremendous support.