Team to pedal to million-pound goal

When a cluster of BP employees initiated a charity cycle in 2009, they had little idea of what they’d started.

This month, more than 70 current and former staff members will saddle up for the eighth Coast to Coast Challenge with the aim of raising a cumulative total of £1million for good causes over the event’s lifespan.  

The funds will undoubtedly make a significant difference to the beneficiary charities, however the Coast to Coast Challenge provides various spin-off benefits for both the participants and their employer.

Coast to Coast

The success of the fundraiser, which is organised by staff with matched funding from BP, can be attributed to a number of factors. From the outset, the challenge was driven by staff with company support.  

The motivation behind it was extremely personal; two colleagues had been diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) and multiple sclerosis (MS). Those who worked alongside them wanted to do something tangible to demonstrate their support.  

“One of the original principles of the challenge was to raise significant funds for those less fortunate,” said Jon Turnbull, founding member.

“We strive to support predominately local charities with which riders have a personal connection – and where the funds raised will make a genuine impact. This has undoubtedly been part of the event’s enduring appeal.  By agreeing to match the amount raised by participants, the company has got behind the causes that matter most to its staff.”


As the event has grown over the years, its organisation has demanded a corresponding increase in effort. Sub-committees are formed to plan routes, organise transportation of supplies, liaise with beneficiary charities and co-ordinate fundraising activities, including a large in-house raffle.  

“Planning the 2016 event has involved considerable time and effort, however the process is beneficial from both an individual and organisational perspective,” added Jon, who works for BP as Wells Engineering Authority.

“Sub-committee members may not normally cross paths in their day-to-day working lives. Organising the event fosters new staff networks and improves internal communication. People also develop new skills, which may be useful in their mainstream working roles.

“Focal points in the lead-up to the ride, such as the in-house fundraising raffle, are great for employee morale.”

A further obvious benefit of the ride – and another of its founding principles – is the encouragement of sustainable transport and healthy pursuits. Weekly training rides have a positive impact on physical and mental wellbeing, not to mention improving camaraderie and team-building skills.

The 2016 Coast to Coast Challenge aims to mark a milestone of £1million raised for good causes. The happy side effect? A healthy, motivated and socially responsible workforce.

The 250-mile 2016 Coast to Coast Challenge takes place from May 20-22 in aid of MND Scotland, Support in Mind Scotland, Charlie House and Home-Start Aberdeen.

Donations can be made at team/c2c_8

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