More than 100 professionals from 10 organisations and businesses came together last week to compete in a variety of sports-day activities, networking opportunities, and to raise money for our chosen charity Keep Talking Services.

The Vice-Chancellor Business Games is sponsored by Shepherd Neame, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Ede and Ravenscroft and is organised by the University's Enterprise and Engagement Department and Sport and Active Health team, is an annual event aimed at fostering camaraderie and collaboration among professionals.

The Vice-Chancellor Business Games provided an exceptional setting for businesses to engage in various sports and recreational activities, fostering a sense of teamwork and healthy competition.

From kin-ball, pickleball, basketball, swing ball, an inflatable obstacle course, sports-day style race, and the University's very own SportsLab – were also on hand throughout the day providing some well-earned massages. Individuals from different sectors showcased their athleticism and team spirit while forging lasting connections with fellow professionals.

Businesses raised £900 for Keep Talking Services, a deserving charity founded by one of the University’s Mental Health Nursing graduates, that offers a vital telephone befriending service, recognising the immense value of combatting social isolation and ensuring the well-being of vulnerable members of the community.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Rama Thirunamachandran presenting £900 to alumnus Alex Richardson
Vice-Chancellor Professor Rama Thirunamachandran presenting £900 to alumnus Alex Richardson

Speaking about the event, Director of the charity and Mental Health Nursing alumnus Alex Richardson, expressed his gratitude and highlighted the significance of the occasion. “What an amazing day it's been,” he said.

“I'm so grateful to everyone who donated. I started this in my second-year and now we're at the position where I'm getting paid to do what I love.

“I've got nearly 50 volunteers supporting over 100 people in the community, I wouldn't be anything or anyone without Canterbury Christ Church. Not only did they give me my degree, they gave me such a great sense of belonging and I’m forever grateful for everything they've done, including being nominated for this year's charity business of the year. I've got nothing but love and I'm so proud to be part of the alumni family - the future is bright because I've got Canterbury Christ Church behind me every time.”

Alex added: “We’ve made so many great connections and we’re already arranging meetings and talking about how we could work together, and people are looking at how they can support one another even more, which is just amazing.”

Vice-Chancellor and Principal Professor Rama Thirunamachandran OBE DL, was delighted to host the second successful business games.

“The event provided us with an opportunity to celebrate our diverse community and successfully host organisations and businesses from across Kent and Medway in a variety of sports-day inspired activities.

“We very much value growing our important collaborative relationship with businesses and Canterbury Christ Church was also recently ranked as the top University in the UK for graduates in employment.* This excellent outcome also demonstrates our commitment to sustainability.”

Teams playing kin-ball
Teams playing kin-ball

Abbie Kempe, Director of Enterprise and Engagement Department at Canterbury Christ Church University said: “The Vice-Chancellor Business Games is a great way for the community to come together in an informal setting, make new connections and experience new sporting activities away from the office.

“At Canterbury Christ Church University, we are proud of our partnerships with local and regional organisations and delighted that so many organisations attended The Vice-Chancellor Business Games to come together and fundraise in aid of our befriending and mental health charity, Keep Talking Services.”

“It’s been an epic event, great for team building and meeting local business.” – Anna Joiner, Partner at Furley Page.

The winning team
The winning team

The games concluded with an awards ceremony hosted by Paul Carney, Director of Sport and Active Health. There were three awards with the best dressed award going to Forestry England, Bedgebury Pinetum team. Fair play prize awarded to Winkworth and finally the winners of the day, Jenner Contractors.

Paul Carney said: “The Vice Chancellor’s Business Games is a fantastic opportunity for us as a University to engage with local organisations and charities and build relationships. Meeting people in this fun and informal setting helps create connections through shared experiences… it gives people something to talk about. It is also a great opportunity for our Sport & Active Health team to showcase their talents and the amazing work that they do.”

“Today has been a team building day, we're a small team and it's been really good for us to have a bit of fun. We’ve all got our competitive streaks and it's come out today, it's been a really good and engaging day.”- Sacha Taylor, Lettings negotiator at Winkworth, Canterbury office.

Teams enjoyed a day of networking and sports-inspired activities
Teams enjoyed a day of networking and sports-inspired activities

Emily Barnes, HR manager at Jenner Contractors said: “We're really thrilled to win, it's a really good mix for team building exercise, getting everyone involved with all different abilities and ages and there's no real skill sets for these games you just sort of give it a go.”

Active Forest Coordinator at Forestry England (Bedgebury Pinetum team), Milly said: “It's really great to be able to come here and support a charity, something that we should be doing more often. It's great that we have accessible sports and get to try different activities, we've really enjoyed kin-ball. I think we should do events like this more often. It's nice to make contact with everyone here, chat to them and see what they're doing in the community, we’re really having fun.”

Other participants included Adams + Bowles Wealth Management, Brachers, Kent County Cricket Club, The Sports Trust, Swiss Re and Pilgrims Hospices, Canterbury Community Fundraising Manager, Leila Ilkhan said: “It's a great fun day out, a really good opportunity for team building and to network with other local businesses in Canterbury”.

With its resounding success, the Vice-Chancellor Business Games has already created a buzz of anticipation for next year's edition, promising an even bigger and better event that will continue to unite professionals, nurture relationships, and make a difference in the community.

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*Out of 100 Higher Education Institutions with 3,000 or more graduates, HESA: Graduate Outcomes 2023. 

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