Sopra Steria’s Aerospace, Defence and Security teams raise nearly £30,000 for Walking With The Wounded

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On Saturday 13th May, 18 teams from our Aerospace, Defence and Security (ADS) business laced up their walking boots to fundraise for ‘Walking with the Wounded’ (WWTW).

The Cumbrian Challenge is Walking with the Wounded’s annual flagship fundraising event for individuals, organisations and companies who want to contribute while experiencing a memorable team-building weekend.

Our 70 volunteers tackled the peaks of the Lake District and have so far raised nearly 30,000 for a charity that supports vulnerable veterans and their families!

How the Cumbrian Challenge supports Walking With the Wounded

In its 10th year now, the Cumbrian Challenge has attracted over 1,000 teams and raised over £1.2m for WWTW. WWTW supports mentally, socially or physically wounded veterans offering the right care and support that they and their families need to function in society, serving in the communities in which they live, reigniting their sense of purpose and making a positive contribution again. The charity has a huge impact on helping veterans regain their confidence and independence, and they work alongside the NHS with employment, care coordination and volunteering programmes. Every team that takes part in the Challenge plays a vital role in providing the funds to support another wounded veteran back into the workplace and in gaining their independence. Why? Because those who served, deserve.

Read more about Walking with the Wounded’s impact here.

Where’s the finish? team member Sheila Nar has given us a behind the scenes into the weekend:

“I have always enjoyed providing support to charities and after reading about the charity WWTW, I was incredibly grateful in being given this opportunity to take part in what was going to be an exciting but probably the most difficult challenge I have ever taken part in.  The first challenge was to form a team and pledge to raise £2,200. This was not going to be easy as we had just under three months to reach this goal. I am proud of all the team’s efforts in helping to exceed this amount which will support a veteran from social isolation and back into society. What is important is also how the money we have raised helps the families of the veterans too.

Thank you to the WWTW team for organising the event and giving us this opportunity to take part and thank you to Sopra Steria for supporting such an incredible charity. This year there were 18 Sopra Steria teams taking part and it was great to meet so many colleagues over the weekend. Each team’s individual efforts helped us raise an incredible amount. It was a pleasure to also meet in person the WWTW team including James, Tom and Fergus and the opportunity to speak to the veterans on the day.

Large group of people in Walking With the Wounded tshirts

The climb was definitely the most challenging and unforgettable experience, and I experienced a mixture of emotions during the challenge – excitement, discomfort, fatigue, anxiety, panic and exhilaration. At times I felt I was dragging myself up and down the hills and tried to stop to take in the beautiful scenery before continuing again. The climb seemed to be never ending and I welcomed the few minutes rest when I finally reached the top of the peaks. The rest was always too short, and we were on our way again.

As I looked around it was apparent, I was not the only person who was feeling the exhaustion of the climb. It can get upsetting seeing team members you are with having to constantly all stop and wait for you. It is not difficult for whomever is at the back to start to feel like they are holding everyone back or start to resent those at the front for constantly leaving them behind. This is probably one of the many reasons during the WWTW briefing we were told not leave more than 20m between our team members.

I feel there is no shame in a slow climb. It will give you time to stop and enjoy the moment, savour the accomplishments you achieve along the way, and admire the beauty of your progress. To complete a climb requires courage, confidence, trust, and most of all, good teamwork because when you climb, you don't climb alone. You cannot reach the end goal any quicker than the weakest member, so it is in everyone’s interest to give the weakest their optimal pace.  Will I ever take part again in a similar challenge? Despite the mixture of emotions and the physical demands on the human body I think the answer is ‘Yes’.  I look forward for what challenge or opportunity lies ahead.”

The Where’s the Finish? team taught us an invaluable teambuilding lesson: together you can overcome and challenge that lies ahead!

Amble Sliders, team member Derek Phillips has given us some insight into the weekend:

“Arriving in Grasmere on a misty Saturday morning, the site was buzzing with anticipation; hundreds of like-minded volunteers were congregating to pitch themselves against the unremitting mountains of Lakeland and see whether they could beat their personal boundaries.  Yes – the Walking with the Wounded Cumbrian Challenge had arrived!

We nervously waited for “our route’s” call… and all-too-soon TOUGH was yelled out.  From that point until about 5kms later the world only existed 45 degrees – upwards and downwards as we traversed up to, and back down from Grey Crag, before striking out towards Fairfield and beyond.  All around, however, were smiling faces – we were in the Lake District, doing something amazing for a fantastic charity… and the sun Was Shining!  It didn’t matter which of the myriad of organisations taking the challenge you were from – we worked as one huge team, encouraging, cajoling, and supporting each other to get round.

Large group of people in Walking With the Wounded tshirts with two people at the front holding a Sopra Steria Walking With the Wounded flag

The Lake District put on a spectacular day for us, with wall-to-wall blue skies, 18–20-degree temps and the most inspiring views to be had.  We slogged, we sweated, we stumbled (lots!) but we succeeded.  Our greatest success, however, was the thanks we received from the marshals and event staff – what every individual did on that day was put money on the front-line for the Walking with the Wounded charity, allowing them to support their armed forces brethren.  To receive that “thank you” and know what it means for the charity made every single drop of sweat worthwhile.”

Providing support to veterans who served for their country


The charity’s mission is closely aligned to our commitment to making a positive contribution to the Armed Forces community, as well as to wider society through our values-driven, ethical approach.

Chris Suss-Francksen, Client Director Defence commented:

“At Sopra Steria, we are committed to delivering mission critical services with excellence which support and enhance the lives of personnel providing front line services and their families.  At the same time, we seek to provide the best possible support for members of the Armed Forces community, both within our company and beyond. We are proud to have many veterans and active-duty personnel as valuable members of our team, whose contributions are integral to our success. Similarly we know that there are many veterans who experience challenging adversity and are unable to contribute to society. That’s why we’re thrilled to have established a partnership with a charity that shares our values and mission. By working together, we can help make a real difference in the lives of those who have served our country and we’re looking forward to continuing our work with WWTW to create positive change, both inside and outside of our company.”

The teams have conquered the challenge and have raised nearly £30,000, all of which goes towards supporting vulnerable veterans back into independence and employment. Every £2,200 on average supports another veteran from social isolation back into society.

The challenge has taught us the power of teamwork each step of the way and when we find ourselves facing difficulties or encountering obstacles in our work, we will remember the lessons from our climbs. Embrace the journey, appreciate the progress, and extend a helping hand to your teammates.

Congratulations to all the teams – you’ve made us proud




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