The Cotswold Challenge comes to Swindon

By Jamie Hill - 10 May 2020

College & Higher EducationBusiness

Due to popular demand, The Cotswold Challenge competition for teenagers under lockdown is now open to young people in Swindon.

  • Fiona Scott

    Fiona Scott

Five business owners who live in and around the Cotswolds came together during lockdown to try to support local young people who have had their examinations cancelled. The contest launched three weeks ago and several students from Swindon have asked to take part. 

“Due to demand, we made the decision to widen the geographical area covered by the competition and now it’s open to any young person living in Swindon who would have been taking GCSEs, A Levels or equivalents this year,” said Fiona Scott, from Swindon, who is one of the team behind the contest. 

“We’ve had requests from young people from West Swindon and Central Swindon so we’ve widened the area to a 25 miles radius of Cirencester – which is deemed to be the centre of the Cotswolds.”

This means young people from across Swindon can submit an entry for the challenge which has been divided into three categories Art & Design; Creative Writing; Innovation & Entrepreneurial Thinking with a first, second, third and fourth prize in each category of £500, £300, £150, £50 and runners up will get a book token. 

The initiative was initially developed to support 16 to 19 year olds (Years 11, 12, 13) to give them something creative to do and offer them the chance to excel, gain a sense of achievement and self-worth.  The Challenge launched in April and remains open until 9pm on Monday June 1. 

“We are particularly interested in entries from young people who are enterprising and innovative. They may have an idea for a new product, be a fledgling inventor, have thought of the next best app or have come up with a solution for the good of their community. These young people may have a great business idea – or simply a great idea which they want to share and perhaps take the next steps to become a reality,” Fiona said. 

Young people who take part must live in the relevant area and for those under the age of 18 parental or guardian permission will be sought if they wish to participate. It does not matter which school or college they attend or they could be a young apprentice. 

The prize money has already been donated in full by sponsors. Winners will also be able to pitch for additional funds to take ‘the next step’ in showcasing their work eg. publishing their poem or short story in a local publication, staging their own art exhibition or taking an idea to an early prototype stage. 

Sponsors for the project include:

The Fred And Marjorie Sainsbury Charitable Trust

Jeevan Thandi of Karhoo

Timothy James & Partners, independent financial advisers 

Jason Houghton, Salperton Park Estate, Cheltenham 

The Fairford & Lechlade Business Club 

Royal Agricultural University, Gloucestershire  

The Paperback Shop, of Fairford

Marion Whittaker 

Author Kevin Wignall

Meg Rivers Bakery, of Shipston On Stour 

Suzannah Harvey, CEO of Cotswold Airport

Kim Harvey of The MadHatter Bookshop, of Burford. 

Nicky Godding, founder of Business & Innovation Magazine

John Biddulph, of Rodmarton Manor

Emma & Jamie Tuck of Bulldog Websites, of Swindon 

Allison Murray of Allison Murray Design, of Eastleach

Barry Jackson, of Aspire Academy

Bettina Harvey of Hector & Queen

Nicky Godding of Business & Innovation magazine

Entries will be judged by a team of well-known people who have themselves achieved success in their own sector or business. To date 60 young people have submitted entries for consideration (see the list of judges below in the Editor’s Notes).

Details of the competition, the criteria for entry and the briefing pack are all available via the website

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