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  • Writer's picturePhil Packer

The Chief Executive of Universities UK (UUK) champions the BRIT Regional Steering Group initiative

We are delighted to have forged a partnership with Universities UK over the past three years and thrilled that Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, is championing and promoting our BRIT Regional Steering Group initiative.

The British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) continue to deliver the annual BRIT Challenge as annual feel-good February fundraiser and invite every UK university, college, specialist college and Students’ Union to enter teams.

The BRIT Challenge has three aims;

  • Support student mental health, fitness & wellbeing and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness

  • Deliver inspiration to young adults, and destigmatise mental health, with the support of BRIT Ambassadors

  • Raise vital funds for local, regional and national charities

To ensure that every UK university, college and Students’ Union has the opportunity to enter teams and encourage student and staff participation in the annual BRIT Challenge, BRIT intends to establish Regional Steering Groups in the nine regions of England and in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

The BRIT Regional Steering Groups will enable student, and staff, volunteers to represent every UK university and college, be integral to our vision, and both steer and guide our charity. We also intend to ensure students are at the heart of our BRIT and will provide opportunities to join our BRIT Trustees’ Board and Co-Chair our 12 BRIT Regional Steering Groups.

By honouring, respecting and embracing existing mental health support and services, and working closely with universities, colleges, Students’ Unions, governing bodies and charities throughout the UK, BRIT will facilitate a collaborative and proactive student, and staff, network to share best practice, provide opportunities to champion innovative mental health strategies and discuss ways to improve mental health provision both regionally and nationally.

BRIT Regional Steering Groups will;

  • Provide a forum for students and staff to share both their activity and fundraising successes when taking on the BRIT Challenge.

  • Enable the annual BRIT Challenge to act as a catalyst to involve the student body in meaningful mental health promotion throughout our feelgood February fundraiser and the year ahead.

  • Establish a student network that can share best practice of university and college mental health provision and support.

  • Facilitate a collaborative fellowship of students and staff that can direct a cohesive approach to supporting and improving young adult mental health and fitness throughout the UK.

Alistair Jarvis CBE, Chief Executive of Universities UK said;

“The British Inspiration Trust’s annual inclusive BRIT Challenge has grown from strength to strength over the past three years and is having a positive impact on supporting and improving student and staff mental health and fitness, raising vital funds for charity and destigmatising mental health.

To engage with every UK university and Students’ Union, and provide volunteer opportunities for students and staff, BRIT are implementing BRIT Regional Steering Groups. Every year, a different university in each region will be asked to host a BRIT Steering Group and provide a Chair and student Co-Chair. Every university in each region will be invited to identify a representative to join their BRIT Steering Group.

I hope every UK university will encourage a student or staff member, with a passion for improving young adult mental health, to represent them on their respective BRIT Regional Steering Group; they will be empowered to both grow and strengthen the annual BRIT Challenge and use this as an innovative opportunity to unite universities, colleges and Students’ Unions throughout the UK.

Alistair Jarvis CBE

Chief Executive

Universities UK

I am sincerely grateful to the following universities for agreeing to host BRIT Steering groups in their region;

  • East and West Midlands Region - The University of Birmingham (Andy Alford, Director of Sport, and George Christian, Guild of Students)

  • Eastern Region - The University of Essex (Dave Parry, Director of Sport)

  • Greater London Region - Brunel University, London (Mark Burgess, Head of Sport)

  • North East Region - Teesside University (Pip Bell, Acting Director of Sport)

  • North West Region - University of Central Lancashire (Dr Adrian Ibbetson, Director of Sport)

  • South East Region - Canterbury Christ Church University (Paul Carney, Director of Sport)

  • South West Region - University of the West of England, Bristol (Tamara Getter, Sport Experience Manager)

  • Yorkshire and Humberside Region - University of York (Keith Morris, Head of Sport) and University of Leeds (Paddy Craig, Head of Health and Wellbeing)

  • Scotland - University of St Andrews (Dr Fergus Knight, Assistant Director Saints Sport, and Duncan Caithness, Assistant Director Saints Sport)

  • Wales - University of South Wales (Steve Savage, Head of Sport, and Bethan Richardson, Counsellor - Student Support Lead)

I am also sincerely grateful to the Association of Colleges (AoC) for supporting this initiative in England and to;

  • AoC Area Director East and West Midlands - Jen Hope

  • AoC Area Director Eastern Region - Hilary Clifford

  • AoC Area Director North East and Yorkshire and Humberside - Chris Nicholls

  • AoC Area Director North West and Mental Health Lead - Richard Caulfield

  • AoC Area Director South East - Gemma Baker

Many thanks to Rob Baynham at Colleges Wales/ColegauCymru for supporting the BRIT Wales Regional Steering Group and to Kate Mulrey for coordinating a BRIT University of Oxford Steering Group to engage the 39 colleges at Oxford.

I look forward to post-BRIT Challenge and visiting every region of England, and Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. to help grow every BRIT Regional Steering Group in order to further support and improve student and staff mental health and fitness throughout the UK.


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