Welcome to the
Winning and Commended work from the 2021 Cotswold Challenge
An inspirational and innovative award
for students in years 11, 12 & 13
“I would like to congratulate the creators of The Cotswold Challenge on this fantastic scheme and all the young people who took part. Engaging young people through the activities and creative competitions facilitated by The Cotswold Challenge empowers them to build their confidence and open their eyes to the choices and opportunities still available to them. I would like to express my gratitude to initiatives such as these which do such worthwhile work in encouraging the aspirations of our young people in these difficult times.”
Secretary of State, Rt Hon Gavin Williamson CBE, MP
“We’re delighted to support The Cotswold Challenge. It’s great to link young people with business and to encourage innovation and creativity. We’ve got some fantastic innovation-based businesses in the Cotswolds and The Cotswold Challenge could be an important step on the way to finding the next generation of creative and innovative entrepreneurs. I hope lots of young people will take part. It could be a great career move!”
Councillor Tony Dale
Cabinet Member for Economy and Council Transformation at Cotswold District Council
“I’m very pleased to support this great initiative for young people at this difficult time. So much will be on their shoulders, so this is a chance for them to try something for themselves. Hopefully, there will be some great ideas – perhaps even something for our farmers, who will need all the help they can get!”
Owner of the Cotswold Farm Park, author and BBC TV presenter on Countryfile
“So much in the world around us is made, designed and created - it's our responsibility to use our creativity, innovation and imagination to do good, make things better and more beautiful. The Cotswold Challenge is a great platform to showcase skill, talent and creativity.”
CEO, New Brewery Arts
“The Cotswold Challenge is vital to help young people start their careers. We can all be entrepreneurs if the idea is good and we work hard at making it happen. Entering challenges like this helps you hone your ideas and - you never know - you might win!”
Denys C. Shortt OBE
Founder & Chairman, DCS Group UK
“Young people are bursting with enthusiasm and creativity - it’s great to hear that The Cotswold Challenge will recognise and encourage them.
In these changing times, we need new thinking - The Cotswold Challenge gives creative young people a great platform for their ideas.”
Founder/MD of trueCall, as seen (successfully!) on TV’s Dragons’ Den
“What a wonderful opportunity for young people. Can you imagine as a prospective employer how I would feel reading your CV? Not average, stands out from the crowd and has enough self-belief to enter a competition that could well shape their future employment. I - as a business owner - would certainly grade your CV above hundreds of others. Enter now, make that commitment, I can assure you it will be well worth the effort. Good luck to all.”
Founder & Chief Executive Outmark Sales
The Cotswold Challenge Story
When lockdown happened at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, five self-employed philanthropic professionals – Nigel Chute, Barry Jackson, Allison Murray, Chris Roberts and Fiona Scott – got together towards the end of March 2020 to offer some direction and inspiration to the young 15-19 year olds whose school life had abruptly come to an end.
The Cotswold Challenge initiative was developed solely to support those 15-19 year olds who felt they were losing their future dreams: their GCSEs and A-Levels were cancelled; they had no idea whether or not they could get into a college or university come September 2020; they had no social life as they could not meet up with their extended families, friends, boy-friends or girl-friends nor could they go to clubs, pubs, the cinema, dances or shopping because of lockdown.
The Cotswold Challenge gave this lockdown generation the opportunity to take part in a creative and educational initiative that was absolutely free to enter. It offered them the chance to shine, gain a sense of achievement and self-worth at a very difficult time and maybe also win a cash prize.
In three months, The Cotswold Challenge team had created a name and identity for the award. We also managed to recruit 20 illustrious judges – experts in Art and Design, Creative Writing and Innovation. We secured funding for prize money from 18 generous sponsors, built a website and launched the initiative to all the schools via the press and social media in April 2020 with the deadline for entries being 1st June 2020. The response from these young people and schools was incredible and, when The Cotswold Challenge closed at 9pm that day, we had received over 500 entries!
When, at the beginning of 2021, it looked like life was going to be problematical for young students once again, The Cotswold Challenge team – now down to four self-employed philanthropic professionals – decided to offer the initiative to students one more time. We still had the website; previous judges and sponsors offered their time and services again and schools and colleges were super supportive – knowing that their students had gained so much from the initiative the year before.
As there had been a lot of interest from students in and around Swindon in 2020, but didn’t fit the criteria of being educated in the Cotswolds or within a 25 mile radius of Cirencester, The Cotswold Challenge team decided to open the competition to Swindon students and also offer an extra prize. This was the Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Talent given to one student from each category that had not been picked by the judges for any of the top four cash prizes, but who the team thought showed incredible potential.
When The Cotswold Challenge was launched for the second time on 1st June 2021, the entries started to pour in. We knew that this was something that was much needed by the young talented, creative and innovative students in our area.
We are now very proud as a team to put together a very deserving showcase of the winners and commended work for you to see and enjoy; share feedback from the judges and highlight some success stories that have grown from the competition.
We also want to thank everyone who was involved, judges, sponsors, schools and the students themselves in helping us make The Cotswold Challenge an inspirational and winning success at a challenging time.
Nigel, Alli, Chris and Fiona
The Cotswold Challenge team