Countrywide & SDL training academies raise over £3,600 in Route 66 Charity Challenge

Members of the training academies of Countrywide Surveying Services (CSS), suppliers of valuation panel management services, and SDL Surveying, the national residential surveying and valuations firm, have completed their Route 66 Charity Challenge, raising over £3,600 for LionHeart, the independent charity for RICS professionals, in the process.

The virtual challenge – which took place over the course of June and consisted of travelling the length of Route 66 in the USA by walking, running, cycling and swimming – was completed by 20 individuals from both businesses’ training academies.

The progress of the teams was captured via the Strava app, plotted on the Route 66 charity map, with updates posted on Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter under the hashtag #SDLCSSRoute66.

During the month, Team CSS covered 4,114km – the whole of Route 66 and then some. However, Team SDL pipped them on the overall distance covering a total of 4,218km. The teams raised a combined £1,206 in sponsorship during the challenge but CSS and SDL both matched this amount which resulted in a final total of £3,618.

Cutting right across the heart of the USA, Route 66 is a 2,400-mile highway, starting in Chicago and finishing in Santa Monica, Los Angeles. It has mythical status and is one of the most famous roads in the US, celebrated in song, film and television, after it served as a route for those looking to migrate to the west of the country.

LionHeart is a charity focused on helping RICS members and their families in times of need. From APC candidates, right through their career and into retirement, to past members and their partners and dependents, LionHeart is focused on those who require help, from providing financial grants to confidential advice and counselling, through to legal and work-related support.

Sarah Chalmers-Stevens, Head of Professional Development at CSS, said: “This was a light-hearted challenge between two firms who continue to demonstrate their commitment in attracting new talent into the surveying industry and investing heavily in their training and development. Although SDL just pipped us on the overall distance, it was a brilliant all-round effort from everyone involved and we are incredibly proud of the teamwork and dedication our training academy showed. The real winner here is LionHeart, and we are delighted to have been able to support a charity which is so close to our hearts.”

Adrian Drummond, Assistant Training & Quality Care Manager at SDL Surveying, commented: “It was so pleasing to see the time and effort everyone took in contributing to this challenge and though we are very pleased that SDL came out on top this time, what is really important is the amount of money both academies have raised for LionHeart, and the excellent work this will help fund. This has always been about the charity and the opportunity to all bond together as a team, as we look at developing the next generation of surveying talent.”

Carolyn McDonald, Fundraiser at LionHeart, said: “We’ve been absolutely blown away by the amazing efforts of everyone who took part in the Route 66 Challenge. Despite the friendly rivalry we saw on social media, it was a brilliant team effort from both firms who gave it their all throughout June to smash the virtual distance of the whole of Route 66. Congratulations to SDL Surveying who won by completing a longer distance overall, but all the participants are winners in our eyes.

“However, the real winners in all of this are the people that LionHeart supports. We rely solely on generous donations from RICS professionals so donations through fundraising are vital to our work. We are delighted the SDL/Countrywide challenge raised £3,618, which includes match funding from both companies. This will really help us continue to keep making a difference to people at even the most difficult of times. Thanks again to all those involved – we can’t wait for next year’s challenge.”