Hundreds of young students across Swindon are being invited to take part in a competition with cash prizes to celebrate their talent.
Four business owners from Swindon and the Cotswolds have raised thousands of pounds in sponsorship to launch the contest aimed at young people who would have been taking their GCSEs, A Levels or equivalent examinations this year.
At the beginning of the first lockdown in March of last year, a team of self-employed professionals - Nigel Chute of Chute Design, Allison Murray of Allison Murray Design, Chris Roberts of Chris Roberts MBE PR and Fiona Scott of Scott Media - founded The Cotswold Challenge to provide support and an educational initiative to 15-19 years old students who were going to miss out on their GCSE and A-Level exams.
With education in schools and colleges being disrupted for the second year running, The Cotswold Challenge team are launching their competition again from 1 June, giving young people from the Cotswolds and across Swindon the chance to win a ‘real world’ prize judged by people who are successful in their profession.
The team believe that the past year’s Year 11, 12 and 13 students, who have been called the 'lost' or 'covid' generation need to be able to showcase their talent and be rewarded for what has been a very tough time for them all.
Fiona Scott, runs her business Scott Media from Swindon and has lived in the town since 1997.
She said: “My daughter was one of those young people last year who left school with 48 hours’ notice, with no A level examinations, no long goodbye with friends, and it was heartbreaking.
"To be able to offer young people an opportunity to shine in another forum is amazing.
“We felt it was right do the same thing this year, and the first prize winners will get £500 each and a mini professional photo shoot to support them on the next stage of their lives.”
Last around 500 young people entered the categories of Art & Design, Creative Writing, Innovation and Entrepreneurial Thinking.
The prizes in each category are £500 for first place, £300 for second,£150 for third and £50 for fourth, and there will be £25 book tokens for four students in each category who are highly commended.
This year there will also be a Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Talent chosen by The Cotswold Challenge team and given to one person in each category.
The Cotswold Challenge 2021 will be launched on Tuesday, 1 June The final closing date will be Tuesday, 6 July and judging will take place in mid-July.