Springboard Blog

8 reasons to sign up for the Team Velo Challenge 2019

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Springboard’s Team Velo Challenge is returning in September 2019! If you needed any more reasons to sign up for this year’s Challenge then you’re about to be convinced….



Among all of its other benefits and features, the Springboard Team Velo Challenge is a fantastic opportunity for making new connections within the hospitality industry. Not only will you have the chance to network with the other three members of your cycling team but you’ll also meet many other industry professionals along the journey at each of the pit stops and finally at the post-event party.

“I entered with a friend who works at Hand Picked Hotels, so this was the first time I had met the others on my team.  It was a great experience to share with others, tough at times and we were able to help each other through. Arriving into Paris was amazing, and again, great to share with others.  I made some good friends within the team so I guess it made a lasting impact! It’s something I would love to do again and share with others.” - Colin Fulford, Fulford Jones

“I bonded with people in our company from other hotels within our group and I have kept the relationship there with them since.” - Paul Pierce, Hand Picked Hotels

“Crossing the finish line with 'like-minded' people from different companies, and the sweet first beer at the end had to be my highlights.” - Benjamin Wilson, The Genuine Dining Company

“Spending time outside of the normal 9-5 routine really helps you to bond and develop friendships. With each year we are also getting to know other participants better too.” - Chris West, Team Lexington

“The overall event is well organised and the group of riders bond. I have met some new people from other companies as many of our team did as well. There is an amazing sense of achievement when you are having a cold beer in the Pullman!” - Douglas Waddell, Hand Picked Hotels



What better way to get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself than with a 250-mile cycle ride from London to Paris? The Team Velo Challenge will put your body and mind to the test through a feat of endurance, allowing you to reach heights of physical strength and fitness you’ve never achieved before. The sense of accomplishment you’ll feel when completing the ride and arriving in Paris will be like no other, and even better knowing that you’ve simultaneously helped to raise vital funds to go towards helping those who need it the most.

“The most rewarding thing was riding into Paris past Versailles knowing what an epic challenge you have just undertaken” - Daniel Bradeley, Sky

“Even though I raced as a professional, I never completing a touring style event like this so it was nice to actually ride from one city to another.” - Joe Perrett, The Genuine Dining Company

“I have always enjoyed riding and wanted to push myself, which this ride certainly did. I was so proud of myself and my team and everyone else involved.” - Dave Collier, We Are Shard

“I wanted to challenge myself and do something completely outside my comfort zone - that it was for a good cause was an amazing bonus. As someone who loves the hospitality industry, Springboard's work is close to my heart. When putting yourself through something challenging, it helps to know that it is in aid of something amazing and really drives you to do your best.” 

“I have never done anything on this scale - cycling up to the Eiffel Tower on that third day will never leave me.” - Johan Joubert, Team Lexington

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The Team Velo Challenge requires each team to hold a strong rapport and trust in one another; you must rely on your teammates to support everyone so that you all complete the race together. Activities such as this are crucial for building and strengthening existing team relationships in a working environment. You can be confident that you’ll come away from the Challenge with a newfound sense of friendship, trust and support towards your teammates which will be hugely beneficial when reflected upon your return to the workplace.

“The challenge was great to get to know more of my colleagues and meet some new friends” - Daniel Bradeley, Sky

“This year I competed with our central support team whom I would usually only see passing through our offices, it was a great pleasure to get to know these 'genuine' people as individuals and understand what makes them tick." - Benjamin Wilson, The Genuine Dining Company

“It's helped cement bonds with the people/departments that were in our team.” - Richard Garcia, CH&Co

“Riding into Paris and up to the Eiffel Tower is unforgettable. The camaraderie of the team and completing the challenge give a lasting sense of satisfaction. Friendships and relationships are properly forged on the road!” - Matt Simon, CH&Co

“Our team worked really hard together... loads of encouragement and congratulations once hard sections of the ride were complete. We all still socialise and have planned further rides in 2019.” - Dave Collier, We Are Shard

“We had two teams in the challenge and the 8 gelled as a group and each four has a special bond and still refer back to it all these months later.” - Douglas Waddell, Hand Picked Hotels

“It created amazing opportunities to bring the team closer together and form bonds. We did a lot of fun fundraising in the office, which created an amazing atmosphere and actually really lifted the spirits in the team.” - Johan Joubert, Team Lexington

“It is a great bonding experience. Lifelong friendships are built from shared hardship and enjoyment.” - Keith Poole



Aside from all other advantages of the Challenge, who could say no to a long weekend trip to Paris? As you make the journey from London to Paris, make sure to take a look around you and enjoy the sights of the glorious french countryside you miss out on when making the journey by plane or train! What better way to support the work of The Springboard Charity than while enjoying a holiday is there?

“Helping others is rewarding however it was a really social event and thoroughly enjoyed it.” - Richard Garcia, CH&Co

“It was an opportunity to do several great things- to ride my bike across stunning countryside in England and France, to spend relaxed time away from work with colleagues from across the business, to take on a real journey between two capital cities and to support a really important cause in the process.” - Matt Simon, CH&Co

“The most rewarding part would have to be riding through France and the approach into Paris, you have to have your wits about you but enjoyable all the same.” - Chris West, Lexington

“But all the fun things leading up to that, including the amazing sights you cycle through and the people you meet, it made a massive impression.” - Johan Joubert, Team Lexington


Get fit!

Are you nostalgic for the days when you could run a mile without breaking a sweat? Or perhaps the Challenge is the encouragement you needed to finally get your fitness back on track? Whatever your reasons, everybody will benefit from the physical demands presented by the Team Velo Challenge. There’s no excuse for not taking care of yourself, especially not when you could change the lives of others while you do so!

“I used to race a bike for a living so the chance to ride to Paris for charity appealed to me.” - Joe Perrett, The Genuine Dining Company 

“It's great to get people out of their comfort zone and try something they never imagined they could achieve.” - Chris West, Team Lexington


Build your employer brand

By partaking in the Team Velo Challenge, you’ll become a representative both for The Springboard Charity and for your respective companies. The Challenge is a fantastic opportunity to improve your employer brand by supporting both the hospitality industry and the charity. Your participation may well become a selling point for the values and priorities of your business, potentially driving both staff attraction and retention.

“It is a great way to promote charities, teamwork and get corporate buy in to support charities.” - Keith Poole


Supporting charity

With the hospitality industry currently in a precarious state of flux due to impending economic and political uncertainties, the work of Springboard is more important than ever. Events like the Team Velo Challenge are some of the biggest fundraisers for The Springboard Charity, allowing us to continue running employability programmes and supporting those with barriers to employment to achieve sustainable & meaningful careers in hospitality. Your participation in these events is key to our success.

“The charity being supported for this event gives extra motivation to take on and complete the event” - Daniel Bradeley, Sky

“Creating opportunities for people is a great cause and if riding my bike can help, even better.” - Joe Perrett, The Genuine Dining Company

“To support a great cause, generating good revenue that will support people into the industry I have been lucky enough to have made my own career in. The industry needs good people and sometimes good people need a hand in finding their way to it.” - Benjamin Wilson, The Genuine Dining Company

“We did it the year before and enjoyed the event. We have also been long term supporters of Springboard so saw this as a good but different way of being involved.” - Douglas Waddell, Hand Picked Hotels


Supporting the hospitality industry

As mentioned above, it’s no secret to anyone personally linked to the hospitality industry that the sector does not receive the praise and recognition it so deserves. With growing chef shortages, a less-than-ideal staff turnover rate and plummeting staff attraction, it is integral that organisations like Springboard do everything we can to remedy this problem. As with all activities, programmes and events executed by Springboard, the more industry leaders and professionals we can recruit to join our promotion of the industry, the more effective our unified message will be.

 "It's so important to support a charity like Springboard so that we may help younger people join the hospitality industry". - Richard Walker, Hand Picked Hotels

“It was such a well organised event that I wanted to help raise money again for Springboard in 2018. I also enjoyed the 2017 challenge so much that wanted to help others gain the same experience. Having worked in hospitality all my adult life, it felt only right to try to and put a little bit back into an industry that has given me so much over the years. It is difficult to convince young people to pursue a career in catering, so any help or support we can provide Springboard surely seems like a no brainer.” - Chris West, Team Lexington

To enter for this year’s Team Velo Challenge, please complete this form

Charles's story

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“Before Springboard, I didn’t have much of a life.”


Charles didn’t have the easiest experience growing up, encountering several challenges and hurdles which led him down the wrong path. He’d always had some ambitions for the future, originally hoping to pursue a sporting career but unfortunately he fell into the wrong crowd and made some decisions he shouldn’t have, which ultimately led to his incarceration.

Before being put in touch with Springboard, Charles took whatever work he could find, but found it difficult to secure any full-time employment which in turn pushed him away from his family and loved ones. Charles was linked to the Galvin’s Chance programme by one of the Springboard referral partners specialising in young people vulnerable to involvement in crime, and jumped at the chance to take part. The programme opened up new doors of opportunity for Charles, illuminating all of the avenues of progression offered by a career in hospitality. Charles was taught about crucial aspects of working in hospitality, most notably the WSET specialist wine-tasting which inspired him to work towards a career in bartending in the future.

Completing the Galvin’s Chance programme has turned Charles’s life around, enriching him with the experience, skills and knowledge required to pursue a successful & meaningful career in hospitality as well as imbuing him with a newfound sense of independence and optimism. Charles thrived during the programme, impressing several of the employers involved in the training, and for the first time ever was able to secure a full-time position working as a runner in the Chino Latino restaurant at the Park Plaza Hotel Riverbank in Victoria, London. His relationship with family and friends has improved immeasurably as a result of the positivity and independence granted to him by his new career. In the next five years, Charles hopes to progress within the hospitality industry to become a supervisor or maybe even an assistant manager or manager, ideally working behind a bar. Charles is hugely grateful for the help of the Springboard staff and all those involved in the Galvin’s Chance programme, fearing where he would have ended up without them. Speaking to others in a similar position, Charles advises, “Give it a chance and aim for the top, don’t stop.”

If you want to help others like Charles overcome barriers to employment and secure sustainable & meaningful careers in hospitality, enter our 2019 Team Velo Challenge here.

Simon's Story

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Simon was always aspirational, but the young boy from Croydon ended up surrounded by the wrong type of people, and quickly found himself in trouble. After a run in with the law, he found himself long-term unemployed – unemployment which lasted for four years. This had a profound effect on Simon, rendering him depressed and overwhelmed by the road ahead – making it even more difficult for him to find work.

He was then referred to Springboard by a youth worker, who had heard about the work the charity does. Simon was enrolled onto the KickStart programme, which provides all the skills he would need to break into hospitality, and for the first time in many years, felt excited for what lay ahead of him.
Simon immediately thrived on the programme. He loved the professional atmosphere and real-world scenarios – which inspired and motivated him to work hard than ever. After sailing through the course, Simon was offered a job on the front desk of the Park Plaza, which allowed him to put his new skills and training to good use. He quickly bonded with his colleagues, and impressed senior figures with his willingness to learn and take on challenges.

Although Simon had faced immense difficulties, he knew that the key to success was to maintain a positive attitude and not give up hope – with a little help from the Springboard Charity thrown in. From four years unemployed, feeling like there was no way out, Simon is now completely energised and determined to build his new-found career and move into an HR position, and help other people like him to grow.

To help other people like Simon get back on their feet and begin a successful & sustainable career in the hospitality industry, enter our Awards for Excellence 2019 here.