Message to all our friends and supporters at Astriid:

I wanted to take this opportunity to pay tribute once again to all of the fantastic competitors and participants, volunteers, and team members, who have made the Astriid Challenge 2021 so successful. With more than double the number of competitors than participated last year, we have absolutely smashed our target in terms of distance covered, reaching at least 1 1/2 times round the world. On fund raising, the donations have started to mount up and we know thanks to the generosity of our participants’ employers that we can expect to see matched funding, which will double the amount our competitors raise. On top of that, we have a wonderful family of sponsors who have also been extremely generous in their support of our campaign. It’s been quite a month for all of us… 

The charity wheels have continued to turn whilst we all have been busy accumulating kilometres. July has seen the most ever new positions (21) offered to our Astriid candidates; businesses have been coming forward with opportunities for flexible, remote, and part-time working that all represent perfect assignments and projects for our candidate pool. With a steady stream of new candidates also joining us, July has also been a record month in terms of the number of people placed into work with the support of Astriid – six individuals are now connected with paid and voluntary work as a result of the support that we have been able to give as a charity.  

We have also been progressing vitally important partnership conversations with the UK government’s Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) which will potentially see us tapping into government funding for some our work in the future; our research team published a vital report in May this year which has contributed directly to last week’s launch of the National Disability Strategy, and we are actively in conversation with three organisations who are prepared to offer training services to our candidates who need to update their skills as they return to the job market. It’s been business as usual for us, but with an increased intensity which may not be altogether coincidental with the profile that you have helped us to raise. And on that note, we do, of course, want you to wear your tee shirt with pride, using it as an opportunity to tell everyone you meet about the work we do. To help you, we are also circulating some Astriid resources for social media that we would love you to deploy as well! 

So, what next? We will use the month of August to reflect on what we have learned about running the challenge that could improve it in the future, and we would love to hear your thoughts, comments and ideas that could help shape future events. We are well progressed on the planning of our next major activity; a London to Torquay cycle event that will run from October the 14th to 16th, and we have nearly 50 names registered on our next London to Paris cycle event planned for June 2022. Have a look here for more details, and please as always feel free to get in touch with me if you have thoughts and ideas that will help us in the future. 

From Astriid HQ, and our wonderful and committed team of volunteers and staff, to all of the Astriid community, a huge, huge thank you. Until next time, dear friends… 

Steve Shutts 

CEO, Astriid