Business leaders urged to saddle up

by Foundation of Light

Increase morale with fundraising cycle ride.

Business leaders across the North East are being urged to ditch their desks and saddle up to boost productivity, increase morale and support a good cause.

North East charity, The Foundation of Light, has announced plans for a fundraising cycle ride across Italy this summer - and is now encouraging members of the business community to sign up and show their support.

The four day Italian Challenge, which runs from Wednesday June 4, will cover a 200 mile route from Italy’s Mediterranean coastline, through the Tuscan Hills and Apennine Mountains, to San Marino and the Adriatic coast.

And, while the participants will be raising money for a good cause, there will also be a range of fringe benefits too.

Past participating businesses report cycling challenges are a morale builder in the workplace for colleagues to get behind the cyclist and sponsor them, and some companies even use it as a teambuilding exercise by sending a group of staff to do it together.

Also, research has shown that taking part in regular exercise can help to boost productivity in the workplace and reduce a participant’s susceptibility to depression and stress.  

The Italian Challenge organisers hope that this will offer an added incentive for business leaders to take part and raise vital funds for the charity’s sport and education-based programmes, which benefit more than 42,000 North East young people and their families every year.

Philip King, Head of Commercial at the Foundation of Light, said: “Physical challenges like this one are always well supported by the business community, with participants often remarking on how the build-up helped to boost their motivation both in and out of the office.

“We’re hoping to take around 50 people with us for the Italian Challenge and are accepting entries from individuals as well as company groups, who can utilise the opportunity for teambuilding and boosting office morale.”

The Italian Challenge is being sponsored by Grafton Group plc, with OSE European providing transport solutions, as well as support vehicles for the duration of the ride. 

Gavin Slark, , CEO of Grafton Group plc who participated in a similar fundraiser in 2013, said: “Last year I was part of a team cycling from Dublin to Sunderland in aid of the Foundation of Light.  It was hard work but extremely rewarding and there were so many benefits on a professional and personal level that I would encourage anyone to give this year’s Italian Challenge a go.”

The Foundation of Light’s Italian Challenge is open to people of all cycling abilities, as long as they are in decent physical condition. 

Participants will be provided with return travel, accommodation and meals and are expected to raise a minimum of £1500 to take part.

For more information or to sign up visit,  call 0191 5515153 or email