Since 2012, Virgin STRIVE has assembled groups of extraordinary individuals and teams to challenge themselves and help Big Change, the social impact accelerator, to make a difference by reimagining education and the way future generations are encouraged and supported.
Big Change is a catalyst for positive transformations, connecting essential ideas and projects, to tackle causes of societal issues. Inspired by creating a better future, AKQA is proud to partner with Virgin STRIVE to raise awareness and funds for Big Change. Big Change is committed to continual learning and evolving with every project, with a focus on working to improve the three identified areas to make a significant impact:
• Communication – oracy is an essential skill for personal, academic and social development, yet it is regularly underserved by current systems.
• Career support – offering guidance to people leaving education, by helping identify strengths and unlock potential.
• Improving teachers’ well-being – tackle a talent crisis through supporting the people with a vital influence on a child’s development.
Prioritising these outcomes enables young people to thrive, not just in exams, but throughout life. Holly Branson, Chair of Virgin Unite and Trustee of Big Change said: “With the rise in mental health issues, gaps in academic attainment, poor social mobility, and the fact that young people are leaving school ill-prepared for work, it is crucial that we create big change in how we unlock the full potential of all our young people. The future may be theirs but it is our responsibility, today, to rethink how we support them. Only in that way will we ensure that in the future everyone thrives.”
Noah Devereux and Sam Branson, co-founders of STRIVE said: “Strive symbolises the ability we all have within ourselves to step out of our comfort zone, overcome our fears and show that we can achieve what we would ordinarily have thought impossible. Through these adventures hundreds of Strivers come together, challenging themselves under extreme circumstances, to the raise money for Big Change to support young people who face challenges every day of their lives.”
This year’s Virgin STRIVE challenge will see a group of change makers venture from Mount Etna to the summit of Mont Blanc. Across five stages, teams will cycle, kayak, sail, hike and climb from southern Italy via Sardinia and Corsica, into the south of France and up to the foot of Mt. Blanc, culminating in a climb to the peak. As an organisation with its founding values rooted in education, sport and progress, AKQA has supported STRIVE since the beginning of the journey, helping Big Change to fulfil its goals and make long-term systematic change a reality. 25 employees from across AKQA’s global studios will join 13 core team members and 200 participants in this year’s challenges, pushing their physical limits to support the Big Change initiatives. Their journey spans far beyond cycling, kayaking or hiking through mainland Europe and incorporates months of dedicated preparation. All participants have been training and fundraising since January to practice for the endeavour, from rising before sunrise to hike 20km before the working day, to cycling hundreds of miles around the city during the evenings.