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  • Writer's picturePhil Packer

The AoC supports The British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) and champions the annual BRIT Challenge

We are delighted that Association of Colleges (AoC) are supporting BRIT and encouraging colleges throughout England to register teams for the BRIT Challenge (taking place between 1st February 2022 and 3rd march 2022) to support and improve young adult mental health and fitness.

Association of Colleges is the national voice for further education, sixth form, tertiary and specialist colleges in England. They are a not-for-profit membership organisation established in 1996 by colleges, for colleges. Their members make up almost 95% of the sector - transforming 2.2 million lives each year.

Acting as the collective voice, Association of Colleges represent and promote the interests of colleges, and provide their members with high-quality professional support services, including training, events, and recruitment.

Our aspiration is to ensure every college, Students' Union and student are aware of the BRIT Challenge and the opportunity to enter teams and participate. We are therefore thrilled that Association of Colleges are championing the BRIT Challenge and encouraging all their members to take part.

“The pandemic added to the mental health challenges faced by young people, including an increased feeling of isolation. This an opportunity to come together, be part of a national collective effort whilst raising money for charity. I would strongly encourage all colleges across the country to get involved in The British Inspiration Trust’s annual BRIT Challenge.

Teams of students and staff in every college in England have the opportunity raise awareness of mental health issues, fundraise for local, regional or national charities and be part of an extraordinary test of physical and mental fitness.

With our collective support, the annual BRIT Challenge has the potential to provide a great platform for colleges to raise awareness together and deliver a powerful and positive message."

David Hughes


Association of Colleges

David Hughes, CEO, Association of Colleges

To increase participation in the annual BRIT Challenge, our aspiration is to implement BRIT Regional Steering Groups in every region of England and in Scotland and Wales. Every year, a different university will host a BRIT Regional Steering Group and invite student and staff representatives from every university and college in their region to attend.

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.

Pre-BRIT Challenge in February 2022, host universities are going to hold Teams Meetings and, with the support of AoC Area Directors, invite staff and student representatives to join the Meeting and encourage team participation, share how they have taken on previous BRIT Challenges and invite our Founder, Phil, to share some of the successful ways universities and colleges have taken on BRIT Challenges.

The support from the Association of Colleges has been tremendous and we are sincerely grateful to Richard Caulfield, Area Director (NW) and National Lead Mental Health, for all his enthusiasm, help and advice;

“The British Inspiration Trust’s aspiration to implement BRIT Regional Steering Groups is a great initiative to empower student and staff representatives from every college in England to be part of a powerful university, college and Students’ Union network that could have a hugely positive impact on student mental health and fitness throughout the UK.

By using the BRIT Challenge as the catalyst, students and staff will have the ability to share best practice, and ideas, around improving young adult mental health and fitness, raising vital funds for charity and bring the Higher Education and Further Education sectors together in an annual feelgood February fundraiser that becomes a firm fixture in the Calendar.

There has never been a more important time to proactively support and improve young adult mental health and fitness. I encourage every AoC college to engage in the annual BRIT Challenge and both support and support their BRIT Regional Steering Group.”

Richard Caulfield

Area Director (NW) and National Lead Mental Health

Association of Colleges

We were delighted that, together with Association of Colleges, AoC Sport continue to support our annual BRIT Challenge as the lead organisation for college sport and physical activity. Offering a range of specialist advice, training and events, AoC Sport champion a whole-organisation, cross-curricular approach to sport and physical activity, which results in improved educational outcomes, employability and student health.

The Association of Colleges and AoC Sport also work with colleges in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and their support will ensure that our annual BRIT Challenge invitation reaches every college in the UK.

"The annual BRIT Challenge is designed to be inclusive and enables students and staff of all abilities to take part and work as a team to cover the annual target distance (2,022 miles), during the month of February, by either hand-cycling, cycling, wheelchair pushing, swimming, walking, jogging, running, rowing or paddling (canoeing, kayaking or paddle-boarding). Students and staff can take part on campus or at home.

This year’s BRIT Challenge is also flexible to enable college teams to decide on a 2022 themed target; for example, completing 2,022 kilometres instead of miles, involving 2,022 students and staff, raising £2,022 and sharing the 2,022 mile distance and fundraising targets between a neighbouring university, college or specialist college in order to bring communities together.

To engage as many students and staff as possible, colleges may want to split the distance between their sports teams, clubs, departments, courses and campuses. It is a great way to promote inclusion and ensure every student and staff feels part of their team’s efforts. I hope every college enters teams and it will be great to see photos of their different activities, how many students and staff take part and how much each team can raise for BRIT and the local, regional or national charity of their choice.”

Dean Hardman

Director of Sport and Student Experience

Association of Colleges

We are sincerely grateful to David, Richard and Dean for developing our special relationship and championing the annual BRIT Challenge so every college can register teams and take part.


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