motorbike trip for autism2

Africa Motorbike Trip By Hampshire Mum and Daughter

Melanie Cowpland and her nine-year-old daughter Sofia, from Liphook, are planning a trip from Bow in East London (UK) to East London (South Africa) – on a motorbike with a sidecar.  They will be raising money for the Adventure Autism Foundation, a charity they have set up to provide unique opportunities for children and adults with autism.


motorbike trip for autism


Sofia was diagnosed with autism when she was four, so this will be an epic journey of challenge and courage. The pair plan to start their adventure on the 14th November 2015 and expect to take nine months to cross Europe then Africa from north to south, covering approximately 20,000kms

Melanie, who is an experienced traveller, artist, author and spiritual coach, said: “I’ve always been an advocate for autism, in particular awareness of girls with autism, and I hope our journey will raise much-needed awareness of the need to grow and develop children with autism on a personal level so that they can realise their amazing potential.”


motorbike trip for autism1


“I believe it will be an extraordinary adventure for Sofia. With autism, there is not only an inability to make sense of the external world but also the internal world. This challenge will be an opportunity for Sofia to make better sense of who she is, what she is capable of, and who she is in the context of this world.”

The journey will be tough: mum and daughter will have to cope with the cold of winter in central Europe and the heat of the deserts of Africa.  Borders, language barriers and the rough state of African roads will be more challenges.

Melanie said: “I’m learning from scratch not only to ride a motorbike, but to know my way around the mechanics and maintenance.   Confidence off road has also been an important feature of training to ensure that should conditions get difficult, I am able to get the bike through it.”


motorbike trip for autism2


“The main challenge of all this, though, is going to be Sofia’s autism.  This will be a long, noisy journey on some very bumpy terrain, so all her sensitivities will be challenged, not to mention her many fears of the big wide world.  She will be receiving lots of preparation to ensure she knows exactly what it will be like to travel in the sidecar, and the various scenarios that she will be facing.”

Melanie added: “Sofia will be home-schooled during the journey to ensure that she is up to the same level as her peers when she returns to school in September 2016.”

Mum and daughter hope to raise awareness not only of autism, but of what is possible with autism. All funds will go to the Adventure Autism Foundation which will fund the trip, and which they have set up to give personal growth opportunities to children and adults who have been diagnosed with autism. This may include skills training for particular interests to help them find a career, or challenging experiences that will help them to discover who they really are and what they are capable of.

In support of their cause and their courage, Pure Hydration is providing Melanie and Sophia with water purification equipment for use throughout their journey. As the pair are sure to come across undrinkable water which they will need to make safe to drink, clean teeth and use for cooking, the purification equipment will ease health concerns as the mother, daughter team travel towards their goal. Please visit for details.

Well-wishers can also find more information and keep up to date with the trip by clicking LIKE  on Africa With Autism FaceBook page. Donations are very gratefully received through Virgin Money Giving (search – To Africa With Autism) £10 = 100km = Autism Awareness

Disabled talent is a hugely untapped pool

Recruitment firms should take the lead in helping their end clients recognise disabled talent as an untapped resource. That’s according to The Association of Professional Staffing Companies (APSCo) which has launched the very first best practice guide to disability confidence for recruitment firms.

Speaking at the launch Ann Swain, Chief Executive of APSCo said: “We want the role of the recruitment profession to be that of a catalyst for change in creating a level of confidence when it comes to the recruitment of disabled talent. Our clients are looking for a broader client base – and UK plc is talent short – and yet so many organisations – because they are time short and under pressure – look at recruiting the same old people from the same old places.”

The guide, developed in conjunction with Business Disability Forum (BDF) and sponsored by EY, who also hosted the launch, provides practical tips and expert advice on how recruiters can best engage with disabled talent.

Susan Scott-Parker OBE, Founder and Honorary Vice President of BDF summed up the business case for hiring disabled talent perfectly: “It’s the same as hiring Canadian people – some of them can do the job! Disabled people are often excluded from employment not because organisations don’t want to recruit and develop disabled talent, but because recruitment processes, partners and suppliers inadvertently place barriers in the way. From talent attraction strategies that give disabled talent the perceived view that ‘we’re not interested in you’ to online application processes that limit people with certain impairments – business misses out on hiring the best talent and disabled people simply miss out!”
Speaking at the launch, Peter Holliday, Managing Director of Sopra Steria Recruitment whose firm has recently joined BDF outlined his motivations. “This isn’t just the right thing to do – being equal, fair and accessible should be a given – but it’s also a real business opportunity for organisations. I found that several of my clients were already members of BDF and were recognising disabled people as an untapped talent pool – and as recruiters, we should be leading – not following.”

Iain Wilkie, Senior Partner at EY who is the Executive Champion for Disability at the firm outlined some of the enormous business benefits of hiring disabled talent by highlighting the qualities that may not immediately spring to mind. “People with autism are strong at problem solving – just one of the reasons that GCHQ is keen to recruit them. Those with mobility issues are often good at coming up with creative solutions,many people with hearing impediments develop an invaluable ability to read body language while stammerers are often recognised as great listeners. Why wouldn’t you want people with these skills in your business?”


New Study Great British Plans: Who Made Them and How They Worked

‘Why does everything take so long and why do we find it so difficult to reach strategic conclusions and carry them out?’ asks Lord Heseltine in his foreword to Ian Wray’s exploration of how the British make and execute their greatest plans.

Great British Plans: Who made them and how they worked is no ordinary study of planning methods and implementation. But it is a study of how plans, which delivered nationally significant infrastructure or profoundly shaped the country’s physical environment, were successfully realized.

Opening with a description of the 1940 exploits of Admiral Sir Andrew Cunningham, Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean Fleet, his terse signal on their completion: ‘Manoeuvre well executed’, sets the tone for what is to follow.

Nine detailed case studies range from the seventeenth century to the present day, and from landscape architecture and motorways, to building a new city and the ‘knowledge economy’. They reveal extraordinary tales of innovation, improvisation and individualism at the heart of successful plans, all driven by passionate individuals. And here’s the key point: they invariably worked without support (and sometimes with active opposition) from Whitehall.




In just some of his intriguing studies, Ian Wray shows how:

  • Whether in the era of Sir Christopher Wren, Sir Patrick Abercrombie, or the present day, the green spaces and built environment of London have been formed not by government plans, but by individual builders, landowners and objectors.
  • Birkenhead Park, the world’s first public park, and the model for New York’s Central Park, owes its existence to a handful of individuals, not to government action.
  • Thanks to Head of the Secret Intelligence Service, Sir Hugh Sinclair, the code breakers of Bletchley Park, were catered for by a top London chef. Sinclair purchased the buildings for them too, at his own expense, after Whitehall turned down his Bletchley plan. And it seems he was never repaid!
  • The saga of the Channel Tunnel and its rail link is typical of large-scale British infrastructure planning, with high dependency on private initiative and individual political leadership. Victorian railway baron, Sir Alfred Watkin was the first Briton to start building a tunnel under the Channel, but government and civil service were determined to stop him. When it came to the new rail link a century later, backed by Michael Heseltine, another private sector plan (from Arup) won the day.

In the final part of this revelatory and hugely readable book, Wray concludes that the lesson from his case studies is that ‘polycentric governance’ is a staple of the British style; that Britain has some of the densest networks of civic association (or ‘social capital’) in the world; and that working together these can serve the country well in the turbulent and unpredictable future ahead.

Ian Wray is a Visiting Professor in Geography and Planning and Visiting Fellow in the Heseltine Institute for Public Policy and Practice, University of Liverpool. He was Chief Planner, Northwest Development Agency, 2000–2010. He has written for The Architects’ Journal , Management Today and The Guardian and is currently a trustee of the Town and Country Planning Association and of World Heritage UK, and a member of the general assembly of the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Puddy playing with the ball

This Christmas Why Not Adopt Dartmoor Pony Puddy?

ADOPT YOUNG DARTMOOR PONY PUDDY – and follow her progress all year round! To help fund its work to preserve the traditional Dartmoor pony on the Moor, the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust charity offers a “Pony Adoption Gift Pack”, suitable for anyone, of any age, who loves horses and ponies, but for whom buying a real one is simply not an option.

This year, in addition to its existing ponies George, Charlie, Smartie and Rolo, we have a new ‘girl’ who needs to be loved! Puddy is two years old and came to the Trust as a gift from Devon-based famous wildlife and adventure photographer, Tracey Elliot-Reep. Puddy represents the bloodlines and wonderful temperament of a herd that has now almost disappeared from the Moor. It is hoped that she will join the DPHT’s team of ponies that are the foundation of its ‘Ponies Inspiring People’ programmes – working with young people with challenging behaviour and disabilities – when she matures at 4-5 years old.

By buying an Adoption, you will be helping the DPHT to feed and care for the ponies based at its Devon Centre; and to give young moorland-bred ponies a basic education, so that they are more suitable for domestic and conservation grazing homes than coming straight off the Moor as wild, untouched animals.


Puddy playing with the ball

Puddy playing with the ball



The cost is just £20 per year for UK residents: £25 for those who live abroad. Every Adoption Pack includes a beautiful line drawing and an adoption certificate and you’ll also receive updates on the development and progress of the pony you have chosen, over the following year.

Ponies George, Charlie, Smartie, Rolo – and now young Puddy – look forward to meeting you and to becoming part of your family! They live at the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust Centre, at Parke, Bovey Tracey in Devon.

Visitors are welcome on selected dates throughout the year – see the website or phone the Centre. Come along to groom and handle the ponies and find out all about them, follow their interesting lives, discover their true value and how important they are to the Dartmoor landscape.

Puddy is a great example of how good Dartmoor ponies are as family ponies and for riding, driving and conservation grazing: they are fundamental to the DPHT’s innovative ‘Ponies Inspiring People’ education programme. Some incredible achievements have been made by students through their work with these loving, gentle, patient but tough little ponies.

The Aim of the DPHT is to preserve the traditional Dartmoor pony on Dartmoor, for future generations to enjoy.

If you are interested in adopting a Dartmoor Pony please look up our website

Cocktail Gherkins

NSPCC’s Gherkin Challenge Sponsored By Bennett Opie

Bennett OpieFine food producer and distributor Bennett Opie Ltd has announced that they will be a main sponsor for the NSPCC’s Gherkin Challenge, which takes place on Sunday 6thSeptember 2015. One of Opies’ long-standing and most popular lines are Cocktail Gherkins, so it is therefore fitting that Bennett Opie support The Gherkin Challenge. The money raised from the challenge will help support the charity’s work protecting children and young people across the UK and preventing abuse.


Cocktail Gherkins


A team from Bennett Opie will also be limbering up to take part in the challenge, where participants climb 38 floors to the top of iconic London skyscraper, The Gherkin. It takes an average of 11 minutes to reach the top, during which time 26 children will have contacted the NSPCC’s ChildLine Service. Once at the top, runners can enjoy the panoramic views of the capital from the exclusive Searcy’s bar, whilst sipping on a well-deserved glass of bubbly, and if they wish, a cocktail gherkin!

Managing Director at Bennett Opie Limited, William Opie, said: “We are pleased to support the NSPCC and its fantastic Gherkin Challenge. It is so appropriate for us, given the association between the location of the event and one of our signature lines. As well as sponsoring the challenge, we have a team in training who will be competing against one another to see who reaches the top first, as well as who can raise the most money to help end child cruelty.”




NSPCC Head of Participation Events, Victoria Kellaway, said: “We’re delighted to have Bennett Opie on board as our sponsor for The Gherkin challenge – it’s a very fitting link to our much-loved challenge event at 30 St Mary Axe, which we all know as The Gherkin! We’re also thrilled that they will be entering a team to race to the top, helping to raise money to support our services like ChildLine, so that we can be there for more children and young people across the UK, whatever their worry, whenever they need help.”


Gherkin Man with Opies


Last year Opies sold almost 1.1million jars of gherkins, which if stacked end to end, would be 660 times higher than the Gherkin building.

To sponsor the team, visit . For further information or to register for The Gherkin Challenge as a team or individual, visit . Registrations will be open until 23:59 on Tuesday 1 September.

New Rubik’s Cube feet-only World Champion in 32.51 seconds

Brazilian Gabriel Pereira Campanha solves Rubik’s Cube with feet in 32.51 seconds

Sao Paulo, Brazil just hosted the global Speedcubing elite at the Rubik’s Cube World Championship – the first time that the competition has ever been held in South America.

At Colegio Etapa, a school in the centre of Sao Paulo, Brazil’s Gabriel Pereira Campanha completed the iconic puzzle in an average time of 32.51 seconds – especially impressive seeing as he used only his feet. This time was enough to earn him the crown in his first ever World Championship.

In a tight contest, he beat 2013 champion Jakub Kipa of Poland, whose average of 36.44 seconds was just enough to hold on to second place ahead of Japan’s Yuhei Takagi, who averaged 36.66 seconds.

Top five in 3 x 3 Rubik’s Cube ‘With Feet’ final:

Gabriel Pereira Campanha Brazil 32.51 seconds
Jakub Kipa Poland 36.44 seconds
Yuhei Takagi Japan 36.66 seconds
Chan Hong Lik Brazil 43.21 seconds
Rafael Werneck Cinoto Brazil 43.83 seconds

Other notable results were:

• Feliks Zemdegs of Australia who won the 3 x 3 category with an average time of 7.54 seconds
• Kabyani Talukdar of India who won the 3 x 3 blindfolded category with a time of 24.86 seconds
• Feliks Zemdegs of Australia who won the 3 x 3 one-handed category with a time of 11.85 seconds

The feet-only category was one of 18 different events at the 2015 Rubik’s Cube World Championship. Competitions included:

• 2×2 Rubik’s Cube
• 3×3 Rubik’s Cube
• 4×4 Rubik’s Cube
• 5×5 Rubik’s Cube
• One-handed 3×3 Rubik’s Cube
• Blindfolded 3×3 Rubik’s Cube
• 3×3 Rubik’s Cube (fewest moves)
• 3×3 Rubik’s Cube with feet
• 4×4 Rubik’s Cube blindfolded
• 5×5 Rubik’s Cube blindfolded
• 3×3 Rubik’s Cube multiple blindfolded

The Rubik’s Cube World Championship was first held in Budapest in 1982. In total, over 423 people from 41 countries competed in the 2015 Rubik’s Cube World Championship.

Film of the 3 x 3 Rubik’s Cube ‘With Feet’ event


To see a full list of results, please go to the official website at

To find out more about the Rubik’s Cube, visit the website at

Don your moustache and join MoRunners around the UK

MoRunning is calling on runners to don their moustaches as MoRunning returns to cities across the UK and Ireland in November 2015.

Following on from the success of last year’s MoRunning where over 15,000 Mo’Bros and Mo’Sistas took part in MoRunning events up and down the country, this year promises to be even bigger and better than before.

There are three new MoRunning locations in 2015 ­ Birmingham, Belfast and Brighton – and this year we are expecting around 20,000 MoRunners to join us during November. Each location has restrictions on entries to ensure a super friendly, fun and great experience so it’s highly recommended to secure places early.

MoRunners can choose from 5km, 10km or 10 mile off­road runs which take place on weekends throughout November. This year there are events in 17 locations around the UK and Ireland ­ Bracknell (near Windsor), Belfast, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London (Battersea), London (Greenwich), Liverpool, Manchester, Milton Keynes, Nottingham, and Newcastle.

Now in its seventh year, MoRunning aims to offer a fun and friendly way to enjoy running whilst raising awareness of men’s health. Open to men and women of all ages, MoRunners are encouraged to wear a moustache, whether stuck on, drawn on or carefully grown for Movember! Fancy dress is very popular with prizes for the best dressed MoRunner and teams are also encouraged to take part.

MoRunners are encouraged to raise sponsorship to support Movember and fundraise for men’s health. In 2014, MoRunners raised an estimated £400,000 for the charity and in 2015 we hope to raise over £500,000.

Dave Krangel, MoRunning Race Director said: “There’s a MoRunning event to suit every runner, from 5km and 10km MoRuns to the 10 mile Muddy MoRun for those who enjoy getting their feet dirty.”

“We’re looking forward to welcoming thousands of MoRunners and raising funds for Movember.”

Entries are now open at:­ Places fill quickly so enter early to avoid disappointment!

2015 MoRunning dates and locations

Sunday 1st November
The Muddy 10k and 10mile MoRun
Swinley Forest, Reading

Saturday 7th November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Edinburgh
Holyrood Park

Saturday 7th November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Leeds
Temple Newsam

Sunday 8th November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Glasgow
Glasgow Green

Sunday 8th November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Newcastle
Exhibition Park

Saturday 14th November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Dublin
Phoenix Park

Saturday 14th November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Bristol
Ashton Court

Sunday 15th November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Belfast
Ormeau Park

Sunday 15th November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Cardiff
Bute Park

Sunday 15th November
The 5k MoRun London
Battersea Park

Saturday 21st November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Birmingham
Sutton Park

Saturday 21st November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Liverpool
Croxteth Park

Sunday 22nd November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Nottingham
Wollaton Park

Sunday 22nd November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Manchester
Heaton Park

Sunday 22nd November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Milton Keynes
Campbell Park

Saturday 28th November
The 10k MoRun London
Greenwich Park

Sunday 29th November
The 5k and 10k MoRun Brighton
Stanmer Park

The MoRunning Journey

To be a MoRunner means you are part of something bigger than yourself! You’re part of a community, a family, a team.

When you step up to that start line at your MoRun, look to your left, look to your right, and remember friends are all around you!

So whether there’s a MoBro with a funny moustache, or maybe a MoSista that’s painted one on, or even someone dressed up as a superhero, give them a smile, shake their hand, give them a high five and just remember we are all in it together. Run hard, run fast, have fun and enjoy being part of something special!
To you the MoRunner, we clap for you, we shout at you, we support you, maybe even laugh at you (all in good humour of course) and we praise you for your commitment to the MoRunning community and the difference you make to supporting such a great cause.

MoRunners Receive

• Race chip Timing and instant race results
• Top class MoMedal bigger and better than 2014
• Yellow Winners Jersey for 1st finishers including Champion medal and free entry to 2016
• Legend and Superhero medals for best fancy dress and legends of MoRunning
• Discount for groups of 4 or more of 5% ( code for booking MR15-TeamEntry )
• Team Entry and Results
• MoRunning Headband
• Snacks and drinks at the event
• Photos to download
• Additional goodies from event partners

Costs of “Mega-Event” Games Could Prevent Host Cities From Applying

With the increasing popularity of global mega-events, such as the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, many are beginning to wonder if hosting such a large-scale event is worth it. While these mega-events have been cited as providing an economic boosts to host cities, recently the negative after-effects have been greatly publicized—overpromising of benefits, underestimating costs, and using public resources for private interest. In the end, the building of new infrastructure comes at a significant cost to those in the surrounding communities, in addition to long-term negative effects on both people and the environment.

As Martin Muller of the University of Zurich writes in the Journal of the American Planning Association (Vol. 81 Issue 1, 2015), money needed for these ventures can now, “command a price of over $10 million,” as well as force the relocation of citizens to accommodate guests. Actions such as those often turn mega-events into obstacles, rather than benefits to urban development. This results in oversized or obsolete infrastructure that the public is forced to pay for. He suggests that a greater focus be placed on the long-term effect of mega-events. In addition to the incremental changes needed to improve the outcome, Muller’s research recommends implementing radical change in how mega-events are “planned, awarded, and governed.”

Mueller’s research advocates for:

  • No longer tie mega-events to large-scale urban development
  • Avoid higher risks that create cost overruns
  • Event-hosts should bargain with event-governing bodies for better conditions
  • Earmark and cap public sector contributions

An unforeseen side effect is the recent lack of host cities vying for upcoming mega-events. This includes the 2022 Winter Olympics, were a number of potential hosts either refrained from submitting a bid or withdrew. Muller believes that the best way to reduce a negative outcome is to, “avoid cost overruns, inefficient allocation of resources, and oversized infrastructure.” Ultimately research shows that change will not occur without pressure from the public.

The vital role of an investor in your expanding business

If you have a great business idea or already have a business but want to expand it, then you may want to look for investors. Here are some of the many benefits that having the right investor can provide.

Valuable advice and guidance

An investor has your best interests in mind. After all, when you succeed, so do they. While some investors don’t have a lot of business experience, many of them have a lot. This means they can offer you advice that can help you make better business decisions and see things from a different perspective.

Inject capital when you need it most

Investors can fill in the gap in finances so that you can start up or expand your company. Sometimes all that is holding a company back from phenomenal success is a lack of capital at key times in the development of the business. You can have more than one investor as long as investment terms are clear for all parties.

Investors encourage entrepreneurship

There are a lot of great ideas out there that don’t get utilised because the support needed to bring them to fruition is simply not there. Investors are often looking for the next great startup company. Having a great business plan can help encourage investors to look to your business as a lucrative opportunity. Many wealthy individuals like to help others create opportunity and build businesses. This can be especially true with investors that have been in the same position as you. M1 Group is constantly looking for entrepreneurs that show the dedication and potential to be successful. M1 founders Mohammad Najib Mikati and Taha Mikati know what it is like to create a company. They started a telecommunications company that led to their further investments.

Level of investment is important

The more shares that an investor has in your company, the more control they will want to have in many cases. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is something that must be considered before investment decisions are made. You need to be comfortable with others being involved with your decisions. The more investors you have, the more this will come into play.

Gaining one investor can attract more

If you attract an investor of note, then other investors will take notice. Don’t be surprised when you get more offers than you expect. It is important to make sure that you don’t get more investors than you are comfortable with.

Finding the right investors

The right investor will be easy for you to work with. Meeting with investors and getting to know them and their expectations better is essential to making the right choice for your company. It can take time to find the right fit. A larger investment company, such as M1 Group, can help by opening your company up to investment capital from many different investors but allowing you to just work with the one investment company. This can help streamline your operations.

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