During a week where we are reflecting on Kindness for Mental Health Awareness Week, it seemed fitting to shine a light on Arron’s BDT Cycle Challenge – undertaken for no greater reason than to bring some joy to his UoB team.
The Sport, Exercise and Health Division at the University are quite used to working as a socially-distanced team, having to operate day-to-day across three main sites; the Indoor Sports Centre on Tyndall Avenue, the University Pool in the Richmond Building, and Coombe Dingle Sports Complex.
Most of us in the Business Development Team (BDT), however, are brought together at our bi-weekly meetings, and it’s rare that many staff go more than a full week without ‘popping in’ to another office or two and seeing colleagues across the team and Division. As many other UoB staff can probably relate, the seven weeks since our facilities shut and we all transitioned to working-from-home, is the longest any of us have been without catching up with colleagues – in meetings, or over a freshly-boiled kettle.Arron is our Deputy BDT Manager and this Bike Ride challenge started initially as a “joke between colleagues” – could we convince him to take on such a mammoth challenge for the sake of the team? Turns out, we could, and with some gentle encouragement the idea soon become a very real plan, much to the excitement of the rest of us! All in, the mapped route would see Arron cross the length and breadth of Bristol, down into North Somerset, and to the far-flung reaches of South Gloucestershire – final mileage yet to be determined…
Luckily the weather held out and the sun was shining when he set off at 8:00am for the shortest leg of the trip; just around the corner to stop number one and a slightly bleary-eyed morning “hello” from Molly, Sport’s Social Media Assistant!
From here he headed across Bristol to St George, for a (socially-distanced) coffee and home-grown flower collection from Events Manager, Kirsty, before moving on to see Jo, our Memberships Administrator – who was delighted with the delivery of flowers that came with him!
Over the course of the day Arron cycled a total distance of 77 miles, visiting 12 members of the Business Development Team, and exchanging stories and well wishes from one colleague to the next!
During a week where we are reflecting on Kindness for Mental Health Awareness Week, it seemed fitting to shine a light on this – Arron’s BDT Cycle Challenge – undertaken for no greater reason than to bring some joy to his UoB team. This act of kindness translated into further acts of kindness from the whole team, with each stop inviting an exchange of encouragement, coffee, flowers and snacks. Arron was even greeted by his very own personalized t-shirt for the occasion, expertly crafted by our Finance Administrator, Penny!
For all of us it was a welcome moment of social time with somebody new and also provided some mild entertainment during an otherwise ordinary day. But I think, most importantly, it re-connected our team during a time of disconnection – which was a wonderful thing.
Important disclaimer: This cycle is an exception to Arron’s usual ‘daily exercise’ – cycles of this magnitude are not regular occurrences – and social distancing was carefully observed throughout the entire day.