Swindon students invited to take part in Cotswold Challenge

By Ben Carey on 12 April, 2021

Students living in and around Swindon are being invited to take part in a competition with cash prizes to celebrate their talent.

The Cotswold Challenge is aimed at young people who, had it not been for the pandemic, would have been taking their GCSEs, A-Levels or equivalent examinations in 2021.

The competition was established by four businesses from the region: Chute Design; Allison Murray Design; Chris Roberts MBE PR and Scott Media.

The four came together in 2020 to launch the Challenge as a way of providing support and an incentive to students set to miss out on their exams. 

The competition will officially launch on Tuesday 1st June with a closing date of Tuesday 6th July.

Fiona Scott, Founder of Scott Media, 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 heart-breaking. To be able to offer young people an opportunity to shine in another forum is amazing.

“We felt it was right to do the same thing this year. First prize winners will get £500 each and a mini professional photo shoot to support them on the next stage of their lives.”

The initiative was deemed a huge success in 2020 with around 500 entries across the categories of Art & Design; Creative Writing; and Innovation & Entrepreneurial Thinking.

The prizes in each category for 2021 are £500 for first place, £300 for second, £150 for third and £50 for fourth alongside £25 book tokens for highly commended entries.

This year there will also be a Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Talent in each category.

Entries will be judged by professionals from the local community including:

Art & Design:

Val & Martin Adamson – The Sculpture Studio

Lady Bathurst of Cirencester Park

Martin Burgess – Art Gallery Owner & Artist

Trevor Hart – Creative Writer, Artist & Commercial Photographer

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen – Interior Designer & TV Presenter 

Lucy McMillan-Scott – Portrait Artist

Nic Vickery – Artist

Sally Wyatt – Artist

Creative Writing: 

Angela Atkinson – Author & Swindon Blogger

Paul Cottrell – Creative Writer & Oil Artist

Kim Harvey – Owner of The Mad Hatter Bookshop

Amanda Jennings – Author

C L Taylor – Author

Enterprise & Innovation:

Nicky Godding – Editor of Business & Innovation Magazine

Adam Henson – Farmer & TV Presenter

Andy Langley – CEO of Ntegra

Verity Manners – Wrag Barn Golf Club

Caroline Summers – Owner of The Paperback Shop

Jeevan Thandi – Enterprize

Ruth Waddingham – Designer & Innovator

This year’s sponsors are:


Ernest Cook Trust

Fraser Allen Estate Management

Revolution Performing Arts

The Royal Agricultural University

The Paperback Shop

Kevin Wignall

To find out more, please visit: www.thecotswoldchallenge.com 

Pictured Left to Right: Allison Murray of Allison Murray Design, Fiona Scott of Scott Media, Nigel Chute of Chute Design and Chris Roberts of Chris Roberts PR.