Stepping to it for STAR Scheme

By Anita Jaynes on 31 May, 2023

Calne’s Elm Workspace and The Essex Group are taking part in the STAR Scheme Cotswold Way Challenge over the weekend of 24th/25th June.

The sister companies which supply furniture to businesses, schools and colleges are hoping to raise £15,000, walking 100km in 24 hours, with no sleep. All the funds raised will go to STAR Scheme whose mission is through the sport of rugby, to make a material difference to the lives of young people who are suffering or have suffered adverse childhood experiences, poverty or mental health issues. 

Daren Spencer, Managing Director at Elm and Essex Group, said, “There are seven of us taking part, training started in January, and we are upping the pace each week to get us ready for the big event. It’s quite a challenge but we’re stepping to it for STAR which is a fantastic charity.

“STAR Scheme helps young people to overcome the impact of multiple Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) through grassroots rugby, helping them to build resilience through relationships with trusted adults. STAR Scheme provides everything that the young person and family need to engage with the sport, including kit and transport. It also works with grassroots clubs to provide specific training to ensure that the adults are informed and equipped to provide the support and space that the young person needs. Every £10k raised enables another junior rugby club to come on board.”

Those taking part in the challenge include Elm Workspace’s Daren Spencer, Richard Hofen and Liam Spencer, Essex Group’s Shannon Rodgers, friend Harry Cook and Daren’s nephews Josh and Matt Cainey.

The team have been hard at it drumming up fundraising support and are proud to have the backing of rugby legends, Lee Mears and Danny Grewcock. Check out the Elm Workspace social feeds to see their messages of support.

The Cotswold Way Ultra Challenge starts in Cirencester and is a 100km looped route through the heart of the Cotswolds, providing a stunning setting for adventurers to test themselves through rolling hills, villages, the Cotswold Way, footpaths and trails. 

The Elm Workspace and Essex Group team have promised to take lots of pics on route as evidence of their fundraising efforts. If you would like to support them in their challenge and in turn support the work of STAR Scheme, visit: to make a donation. 

To find out more about STAR Scheme visit: