The Virgin Strive Challenge is something I set up with my cousin Noah in 2014, as a vehicle to drive change for young people in the UK. Through a series of ultra-endurance challenges, we want to bring together groups of extraordinary people to raise funds and awareness for our charity Big Change. Everyone who takes part in the challenge is tasked with hitting a fundraising target – and this money will then be invested into supporting amazing projects that are working to improve the lives of young people. This year we’re planning to push ourselves even further and create even greater impact and we are so excited that you have chosen to join us on the journey.
Our inaugural challenge took place in August 2014 and saw us venture from London to the Summit of The Matterhorn in Switzerland. We were completely bowled over by how many people took part, the energy that was created and the friendships that were formed, but most importantly what we managed to achieve together. Big Change was able to support five wonderful charities with the money raised – all of which have been making incredible progress with our support. There are two that we feel are really worth highlighting at this stage (more to come!):
We first met Frontline in the spring of 2013 when they had a team of three people and a plan to shake up the way that the UK thinks about children’s social work by attracting and training graduates differently. Big Change became a founding partner in the organisation and invested £215k into the three year pilot to help them prove concept and grow (£125k came from STRIVE funds).
Fast forward three years and the government announced last week that, following the successful pilot, they are making a multi million pound investment into Frontline to roll the programme out across the UK. Frontline were our first major partnership and we wouldn’t have been able to make that step forward without your support in 2014 so thank you.
NCS (National Citizen Service)
NCS were a very different organisation when we first met them in July 2014 – they were already a growing youth movement, with clear government backing, but were looking to deepen their impact. NCS works with 16 and 17 year olds from all backgrounds and all over the UK to give them a four week summer experience that is helping to build a more cohesive, engaged and mobile society. We supported NCS by granting £143k to develop an “Opportunity Hub” that gives every NCS graduate access to employment and volunteering opportunities once they finish the programme.
Fast forward 18 months, and David Cameron announced last week that the government is extending their support – investing a further £1bn over the next five years and linking NCS to the national curriculum. We anticipate that they, and the Opportunity Hub we helped create, will reach nearly 60% of all 16 year olds in the UK by 2021. That means that hundreds of thousands of young people will have access to life-changing employment and volunteering opportunities each year, thanks to the money we raised on the challenge in 2014.
You can read more about all of our current projects in our recent impact report: http://www.big-change.org/wp-content/uploads/Big-Change-Impact-Report.pdf.
The next few months are going to push us and all the strivers to our limits with an extensive training programme underway in preparation for the challenge. That said, no matter how fit and healthy we are, nothing will completely prepare us for the mental strength we’re going to need to push forward when we reach breaking point.
This is when having a growth mindset is going to be invaluable.
STRIVE 2016 is going to push us to our absolute limits, but with an incentive to raise £1.5 million to support organisations who work with young people all over the country to allow them to develop a Growth Mindset, I know we can do it. Recent research has shown that having the right mindset is as important as anything else in determining outcomes for young people. This is incredibly exciting because it means we genuinely have the opportunity to change people’s lives.
It’s an exciting time for all of us at Big Change – and we are so glad you have chosen to join the movement. Time to get smashing our fundraising targets!
Remember, growth happens when you step out of your comfort zone to achieve bold ambitions. Magic happens when you do it together.