Registration is open for universities, colleges, specialist colleges and Students' Unions to enter teams in the BRIT Challenge.
The next BRIT Challenge will take place between
24th January 2024 and 24th March 2024.
Universities and colleges have shared advice on some of the best ways to embrace the annual BRIT Challenge and bring their whole university or college together to fundraise, engage students and staff of all abilities, and raise positive awareness of mental health and suicide prevention.
The BRIT Challenge - an inclusive whole institution wellbeing initiative
BRIT remains determined to drive change to;
Improve the wellbeing of students and staff of all abilities.
Complement existing University, College, Specialist College, and SU, Health and Wellbeing Strategies.
Inspire volunteering and fundraising throughout the UK and assist with social good.
Providing flexibility to take on the BRIT Challenge to suit your institution and student body
The BRIT Challenge has continued to evolve by listening to, and engaging with, students and staff throughout the UK. By providing flexibility we are enabling every institution and SU to decide;
When they take part (within the annual two-month BRIT Challenge window).
What inclusive wellbeing activities they will offer to engage students and staff of all abilities.
Who (local, regional, and national charities) they raise funds for, alongside BRIT.
How they can connect with, and contribute to the health, wellbeing, and sustainability, of the wider community (Volunteering and Acts of Kindness in the community).
Our Founder has visited over 850 universities, colleges, specialist colleges, schools, communities and institutions. This has enabled BRIT to gain valuable knowledge and experience from students and staff of the many ways that universities, colleges and Students' Unions support charities and embrace our BRIT Challenges.
We know that every university, college and Students' Union has a wealth of energy and determination when fundraising for charities and their alumni, philanthropic networks and professional resources often compliment the great ideas, activities, enthusiasm and team-spirit of their student bodies. Our annual BRIT Challenge is designed to unite the goodwill of every UK university, college and Students' Union and invite them to have a collectively powerful impact.
Advice from universities and colleges has enabled us to design the BRIT Challenge and ensure it is flexible for every university, college and Students' Union so they can make their unique contribution as successful as possible in supporting young adult mental health. Over the past four years, over 400 university and college teams have taken part in our BRIT Challenges.
A whole university or college approach to mental health has been the most successful way to increase participation and raise funds.
The next BRIT Challenge will take place between 24th January 2024 and 24th March 2024. Registration opened on the 24th September 2023 to give every university, college, specialist college and Students' Union four months to register teams, promote their event, set their fundraising target and decide how their team(s) will complete their distance target.
Many institutions and Students' Unions are planning to take the longest lead/planning time and take on their BRIT Challenge between 1st and 24th March 2024 - a 24 day BRIT Challenge.
To help Team Coordinators pre-BRIT Challenge, our Founder, Phil, will tour the UK and visit as many universities and colleges as possible in 2023 and pre-BRIT Challenge in 2024 (24th January to 24th March). He is also offering to join students and staff on Teams/Zoom to share some of the great ideas that universities and colleges have used to make their BRIT Challenges a success.
These ideas include; entering one team for the whole organisation and sharing the the delivery of inclusive wellbeing activities and Acts of Kindness between campuses, departments or Students' Union sports teams, clubs and societies; entering multiple teams; challenging another university or college; teaming up with a local college/specialist college; using social media to engage the whole student body; inviting sporting alumna/local sports teams to help with the miles and awareness raising.
Here are three tips when taking on your BRIT Challenge;
TIPS FOR TAKING ON THE CHALLENGE
TAKING ON THE
With so many competing priorities for Vice Chancellors, College Principals, and SU Sabbatical Officers, the BRIT Challenge must have an attractive proposition for Leadership Teams that;
Has the ability to assist with their Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategies.
Is an opportunity to measure impact (on both social good and improving student and staff wellbeing and personal development) that can be useful evidence both internally and externally.
BRIT Challenge Coordination Group Composition
Year on Year we have seen an increase in participation; over 400 universities and colleges have embraced the BRIT Challenge. Many BRIT Challenge Coordinators have shared that they; struggled to engage key departments; had inadequate resources to implement a whole university or college approach; and felt there are other local/regional health, wellbeing, fundraising, and community initiatives, often led by other departments, that could easily be combined with their BRIT Challenge aims to have a much greater impact.
The most successful way to embrace the BRIT Challenge is through a whole university/college and SU approach with a BRIT Challenge Coordination Group comprised of key individuals including;
Leads for Student Engagement/Experience (member of the Senior Management Team).
Students’ Union (Welfare, Activities and Volunteering Officers).
Student Services / Student Enrichment.
Heads of Faculties/Departments and Campuses (including Sport and Wellbeing).
Head of Comms and a Lead for Fundraising.
The theme of 24 for the BRIT Challenge in 2024
BRIT will share the many innovative ways that institutions are participating in order to inspire other universities and colleges to embrace the BRIT Challenge. For example, in 2024, many institutions are planning to complete 24 Acts of Kindness in Community alongside both fundraising activity and engaging students and staff in a wide range of 24 inclusive wellbeing activities that we delivered over 24 days (1st to 24th March 2024).
Many universities, colleges, and their Students' Unions/Associations, have decided to deliver their BRIT Challenge activities and split them into three separate areas;
24 Inclusive Wellbeing Activities (split across the institution with, for example, Sport and Active Wellbeing delivering 6 activities, the Students' Union delivering 6 activities, Student Services/Wellbeing delivering 6 activities, and other departments/faculties/campuses delivering the remaining 6 activities.
24 Acts of Kindness in the Community (Leadership Teams and Students' Unions are asking departments and course representatives to come up with 24 Acts of Kindness in the community and promoting the opportunity to volunteer and participate with their students and staff.
Setting a fundraising target to raise funds for BRIT and a local, regional, or national, charity (£2400 or for larger institutions, £24,000). Many are asking Leadership Teams to host business leaders or approach contractors on campus, local businesses, and local employers, to match fund or support them by donating around the theme of 24 (£240 or £2400).
Inclusive Wellbeing Activities
Sport Departments and Sports Clubs/Socieites are delivering many physical wellbeing activities including;
24 hour Sport Challenges (Tennis, Badminton, Rowing, Swimming, Rugby, Football. Netball etc.) to encourage as many students and staff to come together during a 24 hour period and try out different activities.
Setting team distance targets (2024 will be, for example, 24,000 or 2,024 miles) by either hand-cycling, cycling, wheelchair pushing, swimming, walking, jogging, running, rowing or paddling (canoeing, kayaking or paddle-boarding) with students and staff adding distance to the overall target.
Art, Music, and Creative Media Departments, and Students are planning;
A 24 hour art competition to create works of art around mind and movement that destigmatise mental health that are then exhibited, auctioned to raise funds, or donated to local hospices, care homes, and community groups.
Music Concerts and Dance Competitions to attract students and staff to attend, support and have fun.
Universities, Colleges, and Students' Unions, are planning to deliver a wealth wellbeing activities including;
Meditation, Mindfullness, and Yoga.
Drawing, Colouring and Sculpting.
Taking 24 minutes out of the working day to look after everyone's wellbeing and to try a wellbeing activity.
Lunchtime Staff and Student walks and wheelchair push activities.
Our aspiration is for as many students, and staff, as possible to be encouraged to join their university or college team. The bigger the team, the more funds will be raised for charity.
Bringing together a BRIT Challenge Coordination Group was an approach used by many universities and colleges on our previous, UK-wide, BRIT Challenges to ensure that students and staff were integral to organising their event and there was engagement across the whole institution to promote student and staff participation.
As you will see, the BRIT Challenge can embrace any activity that promotes health, fitness and wellbeing.
We are inviting the 5 million students, and staff, at every UK university and college to unite with us in support of young adult and student mental health.
UNITE AS A TEAM
“As a University community we are committed to supporting our students' and staff wellbeing, as well as promoting good mental health.
The last year has shown us that now, more than ever, we need to be together in supporting everyone within our community.
The BRIT Row Britannia Challenge was successful last year in bringing us together, creating awareness of mental health and the support that is available, and we hoped that this year will be no different. All our students and staff were encouraged to take up the BRIT 2021 Challenge, where possible, and unite behind this deserving cause.
Throughout February and March, we took part in the BRIT 2021 Challenge - an incredible collaboration, bringing together universities, colleges, and sporting icons to raise both vital funds and mental health awareness.
The impact that the annual BRIT Challenges have had on our University community have been extraordinary. Last year, over 1000 students, staff and alumni took part; this year, despite COVID-19 restrictions, over 600 students, staff and alumni took part and the challenge undoubtedly improved and supported the mental health and fitness of our students and staff.
We are thrilled that BRIT will be delivering an annual inclusive BRIT Challenge as a February feel-good fundraiser. I am delighted that our University are continuing a special relationship with BRIT and exploring many different ways for our students and staff to be part of the charity’s vision and aims."
Professor Rama Thirunamachandran
Vice-Chancellor and Principal
Canterbury Christ Church University
An example of setting up a Coordination Group from Falmouth University
“When Falmouth University hosted the BRIT 2020 Row Britannia Challenge and met the BRIT Founder, Phil Packer MBE, we brought together a Coordination Group that comprised of key individuals who represented our students, staff and the departments who would allocate resources to promote the Challenge and make it a success.
Our Coordination Group included myself, representing our Leadership Team, and our Director of Student and Academic Services, the Falmouth University Students’ Union President, and our Head of Sports and Nursery Services.
We are delighted that BRIT will be delivering the BRIT 2021 Challenge in support of young adult mental health. By bringing together a Coordination Group, Falmouth University can promote the opportunity for all students and staff to take part on campus, or at home, to both improve their mental health and raise vital funds for BRIT’s partner mental health charities.”
Dr Robin Kirby
Strategic Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor & Secretary to the Board of Governors
Team Participation - One team or multiple teams
Some universities and colleges will adopt a one team approach to taking on the BRIT Challenge, whereas others may wish to enter multiple teams. This flexibility and choice enables different campuses, colleges and departments or Students' Union sport teams, clubs, societies and groups to enter their own teams.
Our aspiration is for as many students, and staff, as possible to be encouraged to take part as a team to improve their mental health and fitness. Students and staff can complete as many miles as they want to, on campus or at home, and send images of their activity, and distance reached, on social media or by the university, college or SU offering an App or website page.
Reaching your fundraising
Every university and college has the flexibility to set its own fundraising target. If every UK university and college raised £2,024, together they would raise almost £1million for local, regional and national charities, alongside BRIT. The more students, and staff, taking part, the greater awareness and funds will be raised. We hope students and staff will raise as much as they can.
The BRIT Challenge encourages as many students, and staff, to take part and unite in support of young adult mental health.
Larger universities and colleges may wish to enter more than one team to involve as many students, and staff, as possible. Smaller universities, colleges and specialist colleges may wish to enter just one team to complete their distance target.
Examples of how universities and colleges reached their distance targets in previous BRIT Challenges are;
One student or staff member completing one mile each for their team - encouraging 2,024 students and staff to take part
The Students' Union challenging their university or college staff to reach their own 2,024 mile target
Dividing the 24,000 or 2,024 miles between campuses, colleges or departments
Student Sports Clubs or Societies sharing the miles to encourage wide participation (swimming club taking 100 miles, netball team taking 100 miles etc.)
Promoting Inclusivity and Adaptive Sports (hand-cycling, adaptive rowing and wheelchair accessibility)
Encouraging students and staff to send images of their hand-cycling, cycling, wheelchair pushing, swimming, walking, jogging, running, rowing or paddling (canoeing, kayaking or paddle-boarding) activity and miles completed on Instagram or Twitter to raise awareness
Each university, college, specialist college and Students' Union can decide on a how many teams take part, however if all 450 HE and FE institutions encouraged 2,024 students and staff to take part, raised a minimum of £2,024 each throughout the UK, together we would raise almost £1million for local, regional and national charities, alongside BRIT.
REACHING YOUR DISTANCE TARGET
Any number of teams can take part in the annual BRIT Challenge and the bigger the team, the more funds are likely to be raised for our partner mental health charities.
From experience, we know that some universities and colleges will decide to enter one team for the whole organisation, whereas others may decide to enter multiple teams for each campus, department or Students' Union sports team, club or society.
Universities and colleges have advised us that if more than one team takes part, it is less confusing if everyone uses one central Fundraising Page (so the same link is used on websites & social media).
Here are some examples of how universities and colleges reached their fundraising targets;
Every student and staff member completes one mile and raises £1
Approaching their varsity competitors to challenge them to see who can raise the most
Engaging their alumni to donate and support their fundraising target
Asking local businesses and corporations to match what they raise
The Students' Union challenging the university/college staff and they raise £2,024 together or £2,024 separately (£4,048)
Asking their VC or College Principal to encourage business partners or sponsors to donate or match fund
Each university, college, specialist college and Students' Union can decide on a fundraising target, however if all 450 HE and FE institutions raised a minimum of £2024 each throughout the BRIT Challenge, together we would raise almost £1m for local, regional and national charities, alongside BRIT.
Once your university, college, specialist college or Students' Union has registered (from September 2023) and you Team Coordinator has set up your Team's Fundraising Page, the link can be shared as part of your fundraising campaign.
REACH YOUR FUNDRAISING TARGET
Here is an example of Team Participation from The Chichester College Group
The Chichester College Group have supported the British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) for many years and our students and staff have been involved in supporting, coordinating and hosting BRIT events including the BRIT 2012 Challenge and more recently, the BRIT 2020 Row Britannia Challenge. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and closure of all universities and colleges meant that we were unable to complete the challenge and reach our fundraising target. We are therefore delighted that BRIT are delivering the BRIT 2021 Challenge as a feel-good fundraiser to improve student and staff mental health and fitness, all whilst raising vital funds for mental health charities.
Our Chichester College Group is comprised of five colleges, each having their own Student Union. The BRIT 2021 Challenge provides the flexibility for our students and staff to decide if we enter one team for our whole group or each college and student union enters a team. We want to provide the opportunity for everyone to take part, so it’s great that our colleges have the choice to take on their own 2,021mile target and set their own fundraising targets or decide if we have one fundraising target for the whole group. However we decide to embrace the challenge, this innovative BRIT 2021 Challenge has the potential to improve the mental health and fitness of all our students and staff.
We will do all we can through social media to encourage universities and colleges in the South East Region to join us and take on the BRIT 2021 Challenge.
Shelagh Legrave OBE DL
Chief Executive Officer
Chichester College Group
Here is an example of how to reach your fundraising target from the Sport and Wellbeing Officer at Coventry University Students' Union
"The awareness of mental health, and physical health issues has always been important to me personally, as well as CUSU and Coventry University.
It is now, more than ever, a vital part of everyone's existence; ensuring that each and every one of us takes care of our own health, as well as support those around us that need it. The addition of working and 'living' remotely under COVID-19 conditions has highlighted the importance of this fantastic BRIT 2021 Challenge.
The benefits of promoting good mental and physical health awareness, whilst also raising funds for charities, that support students and young adults, is an opportunity that we couldn't pass up on.
The BRIT 2021 Challenge is a campaign that we will be completing with students, staff, alumni and community alike!
We can't wait to get started, and show how effective and powerful our collective community can be."
Sport and Wellbeing Officer
Coventry University Students' Union
Here is an example of how to reach the distance target from Coventry University
“When our university and SU took on the BRIT 2020 Row Britannia Challenge, our SU and students worked together with our university staff to plan how we would complete our 2,020 miles as a team. This whole university collaborative approach was highly successful and is how we plan to take on the BRIT 2021 Challenge. By combining our resources and enthusiasm, we intend to ensure every student and member of staff has the ability to participate to improve their mental health and fitness.
With the possibility of restrictions being in place, we will encourage as many students and staff to take on the challenge and complete 1 mile each wherever they are. We intend to enter one team for the whole university and promote the BRIT 2021 Challenge so that our many departments and student teams, groups and societies can also take on a number of miles towards our overall target. If more than one team does decide to take on the BRIT 2021 Challenge, we will ensure everyone uses just one central Virgin Money Giving Page for fundraising.
The BRIT 2021 Challenge could not be coming at a more important time as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have led to our students and staff working remotely and being unable to come together for team events or activities. Our students and staff will be invited to complete their miles by either handcycling, cycling, wheelchair pushing, swimming, walking, jogging, running, rowing or paddling (canoeing, kayaking or paddle-boarding) and use Instagram or Twitter to send in their miles with images of their activity. This will also raise awareness of the BRIT 2021 Challenge throughout our university and help raise as much as we can”.
Head of Sport, Physical Activity and Commercial Business
Below are a few examples of BRIT Challenge successes;
One example of how to record your university or college team distance is by using Google Forms.
Jon Nottingham, the Active Wellbeing Lead at Bridgend College, has very kindly recorded a video with instructions of how to use Google Forms. Your Team Coordinator can set up a Team Form that can be shared with your students and staff. They can then submit their distance covered/activity and this can be collated centrally to record your team distance.
Jon has also kindly created two Template Forms; one in English and one Bilingual (English/Welsh). These links will allow other BRIT Challenge Team Coordinators to make a copy of the form, amend the Team Name, Logo and Questions, and save a copy for their University/College Team.
John has given instructions on how to personalise the form, how to send it to students and staff, and how to collate responses.
"Student and staff health & wellbeing is a priority at Bridgend College. We promote Active Wellbeing as one of the core elements of looking after physical and mental health.
BRIT does an amazing job with the annual BRIT Challenge to unite young people across the UK and we are inspired by the vision of the organisation to grow and develop. We support BRIT due to the inclusive nature of the challenge; all students and staff can get involved. It is great to initiate conversations about the importance of physical activity on our health and talking about mental health within our College but also in the wider community."
Active Wellbeing Lead / Arweinydd Lies Gweithredol
Bridgend College / Coleg Penybont