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Cardiff entrepreneur launches Million Steps Challenge to transform the health of Wales

New national Million Steps Challenge aims to transform the health of Wales – and raise millions for charities

Want to lead a healthier life, raise funds for charities you love, and fit it into your busy lifestyle?

Then join a groundbreaking new national challenge, One Million Steps

Recently a shortlisted finalist for The Great British Entrepreneurs Social Good Award Wales, One Million Steps hopes to raise millions of pounds for Welsh charities of all sizes.

Participants walk an average of 10,000 steps a day for 100 days – one million steps or 500 miles. Research shows the average Briton walks only 3000 to 4000 steps a day with one poll showing, for many, it could be as low as 2000 steps.

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The innovative mass challenge is the first Welsh startup to win a place at Google Launchpad London, winning awards from UnLtd, the School for Social Entrepreneurs, the Fairwood Trust, and invited to Natwest Accelerator and Seedbed Incubator.

Cardiff-based Founder, Ranjit Ghoshal, came up with the idea when he injured his knee training for a charity challenge.  Coming from the non-profit sector, he realised the need for a platform based on social innovation principles and health campaigns that ensured that the product was accessible, acceptable, affordable, and, critically for participants and donors, accountable.

Ranjit said:

“We know the benefits of an active life. 58% of Welsh adults are now overweight or obese, according to the Welsh Health Survey, and 7% of Welsh adults are being treated for diabetes. We are also increasingly aware of how stress affects mental health. Walking has been shown to be extremely effective for both physical and mental well-being.

“My mission was a mass challenge event that businesses and charities of all sizes could promote to staff and supporters, costs less than travelling and taking part in a big event like a marathon and allows charities to scale their fundraising efforts easily.

“Instead of having to sign up for an overseas trek or race, and take the time out to train and complete, you fit your million steps into your existing lifestyle.

“You can choose to walk up mountains, race around the local park, dance the tango, or take aerobics classes. Do it solo, with friends, or team up with work buddies but importantly, it had to be automated so participants could focus on their challenge rather than constantly updating progress.”

Everyone gets a Million Steps pedometer and app which records steps, distance, and, importantly, active minutes.

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Integrated fundraising pages show a participant’s challenge progress – this provides accountability so friends, family, and colleagues can cheer participants on and donate to their chosen charity.

Businesses are being asked to back the challenge

Businesses are being asked to get behind the Million Steps challenge to help staff get fitter while fundraising for charities and social good.

A recent study by XpertHR found that employees take an average of 2.8% of their working days off sick. Encouraging staff to take part in employee health and wellness schemes has obvious benefits to the business. However it can be tricky. So, giving them an extra reason to take part (helping a charity) often gives them the nudge they need to get active and helps businesses fulfill their corporate social responsibilities.

Ranjit said: “Many business owners want healthier staff. Encouraging staff to support a charity and walk a Million Steps provides greater motivation and can help businesses to help local community projects.

“Company branded landing pages, integrated with a charity the business supports, mean staff have just one place to visit, sign up, and set up fundraising profiles. With content on mindfulness practice, yoga an important everyday exercises, the benefits could be huge for staff well-being.”

Welsh charities are set to benefit

The challenge is an ideal tool for charities to scale their fundraising activities both locally and nationally.

Ranjit said: “Smaller charities struggle to organise local events and often the passion is not translated into a return on investment from limited resources.  Big overseas events are great but fundraising levels are high and the cost of golden tickets in major athletic events are often beyond the reach of many charities.  These factors helped us model the Million Steps challenge to ensure as many barriers were overcome and health and fundraising was the big goal.

“Participants may be doing the challenge locally but can compete with friends anywhere in the country encouraging a viral sign up as friends and colleagues team up.

“It will also encourage people who worry about their fitness levels to get involved, get fitter, make a social good difference and then take on much tougher challenges.”

The Million Steps platform streamlines event management by providing integrated fundraising pages, Gift Aid collection, charity landing pages and participant sign-up, and the ability to embed explainers or videos in customisable pages with easy-to-use templates.

More info: www.millionsteps.com

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