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Adam Henson supports The Cotswold Challenge Innovation winner

At the start of the pandemic earlier this year, The Cotswold Challenge was set up by five enterprising business people to offer hope to young 15-19 year olds, who had had their GCSE and A-Level exams cancelled and been left in limbo because of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Nigel Chute, Barry Jackson, Allison Murray, Chris Roberts and Fiona Scott – all members of the Fairford & Lechlade Business Club – started up The Cotswold Challenge in March to give these students something creative to do and offer them a chance to excel and gain a sense of achievement. The Challenge was divided into three categories: Art & Design, Creative Writing and Innovation & Entrepreneurial Thinking.

Sam Groves (17) from Cirencester was the outright winner in the Innovation category with his design for an ergonomic blue tit nesting box. TV presenter and farmer, Adam Henson, who was one of the judges for The Cotswold Challenge, said that it was “a really well thought through innovative idea that is well worth recognition and I would definitely buy some.” True to his word, Adam has since contacted Sam and ordered four bespoke Sparrow Terrace boxes for his Cotswold Farm Park near Guiting Power.

Last week, Sam, who attends Cirencester College, had the opportunity to visit Adam Henson’s farm park with his mum, Katy, to deliver the bird boxes to the TV presenter in person. Whilst there, Adam Henson gave Sam and Katy a personal guided tour of the now famous Cotswold Farm Park and showed Sam the barn where the Sparrow Terraces would be sited. Adam said: “These look really well designed and I am pleased to support a young, enthusiastic entrepreneur. We have been having problems with sparrows in our public areas, so these boxes are a great solution.”

Adam and Sam with birdboxes
Adam and Sam with birdboxes

Despite being dyslexic, Sam is a real entrepreneur in the making as he not only makes bird boxes, but he has also had his own business, SG Mowing, since the age of 12. Currently, Sam’s blue tit nesting boxes are stocked at Austin’s Country Store on the Love Lane Industrial Estate, Cirencester, but Sam has plans to expand his business when time allows between studying double BTEC Business Studies and A-Level Geography.

After winning the £500 first prize in the Innovation & Entrepreneurial Thinking category of The Cotswold Challenge in June, Sam said: “Winning The Cotswold Challenge has given me the drive and determination to take my business even further. It has also allowed me to invest more into my business and try making new products for the range.”

Article and photos by Chris Roberts

See Sam's bird box and more amazing entries in the Innovation Den

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