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Home > News > April 2004 > 19-Apr-2004

Charities take on blue chip companies for Microsoft Challengers Trophy

Four UK charities are to clash with the might of the business world when they participate in the 4th annual Microsoft Challengers Trophy, Europe’s largest team-building exercise in aid of the NSPCC.

Representatives from the NSPCC, Weston Spirit, the British Paralympic Association and RNID (Royal National Institute for the Deaf) will compete against more than 100 corporate teams from over 50 UK companies in the Isle of Wight between 9-13 June..

The four teams are part of the Microsoft Academy, created for the first time this year to enable groups that would not usually get the chance to compete in such an event, to do so.

The teams are competing for the coveted Microsoft Challengers Trophy, and it is hoped that the event will raise £400,000 for the NSPCC.

All teams taking part in the three day and four-night challenge will face a series of top secret challenges, which may include tasks such as canoeing, abseiling, mountain biking and code cracking. All tasks are designed to test both physical and mental strength, whilst developing team spirit.

Falklands veteran Simon Weston OBE, vice president and co-founder of Weston Spirit said: "To celebrate Weston Spirit’s 15th anniversary, we’re taking part in the Microsoft Challengers Trophy to enable the team to work together and share experiences we wouldn’t get from our normal working environment. It’s going to be an exciting event as all three Weston Spirit co-founders will be on our team."

Weston Spirit is a national youth charity tackling issues of social exclusion in young people through its range of personal development programmes and projects. With its head office based in Liverpool, Weston Spirit has 10 centres in Greater Merseyside, South Wales, London, Tyne & Wear, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire. To date, Weston Spirit has worked with more than 55,000 young people around the country.

Retired paralympic cyclist and British Paralympic Association team captain, Nigel Capewell, said: "The team expects the Microsoft Challengers Trophy to push us to our physical and mental limits. As paralympians we are used to competing and winning under pressure, but this will be something entirely different."

The British Paralympic Association (BPA), based in Croydon, is a registered charity responsible for selecting, preparing, entering, funding and managing Britain’s teams at the Paralympic Games and Paralympic Winter Games. Great Britain’s paralympic athletes came second in the overall medal table at the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games with 41 gold, 43 silver and 47 bronze medals. As such, they constitute one of Britain’s most successful sports teams of all time.

RNID is the largest charity representing the 9 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK. Team captain, Damian Brewer, said: "The Microsoft Challengers Trophy is a great opportunity for a charity to take part in an event that is usually run for corporates. Our team is made up of deaf and hard of hearing participants and we’re looking forward to the challenge of completing the physical and mental tasks."

NSPCC team captain, Jennifer Bernard, said: "Since Microsoft started sponsoring the event in 2000, participants have helped raise nearly one million pounds for the NSPCC. I’ve had the opportunity to participate in every Microsoft Challengers Trophy as part of the NSPCC team. We really value being there with our supporters and doing our bit to make the event the success it always is. It’s great that people from other charitable organisations are, for the first time this year, able to experience the event for themselves."

Microsoft has supported the NSPCC for ten years and through the sponsorship of materials, personal fundraising, events and donations, have enabled the NSPCC to raise almost £15 million.

Mark Greatorex, director of Microsoft’s .NET Developer Group, said: "This year’s Microsoft Challengers Trophy is very special for us because it’s the first time we’ve funded Microsoft Academy teams, enabling participants from the not-for-profit sector to compete. It really promotes diversity and creates a whole new dimension to the competition."

Previous Challenger World winners have included Marsh, Accenture, Lloyds TSB, Barclays Bank, Scania and Airbus.

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