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Challenge 2: Cheltenham Borough Council

How do we ensure that all of our communities prosper from the Golden Valley Development?

You can also view an audio described version of the challenge 2 video on our YouTube channel.

A challenge organiser explaining a part of the challenge to the team in an outside space

This Cheltenham challenge marks the second since the restart of LG Challenge in February, and the excitement of the contestants continued to shine through. 


The challenge was officially opened with words of encouragement and that the teams should deliver bold and innovative ideas. Cheltenham Borough Council Chief Executive, Gareth Edmundson, then gave a presentation about Cheltenham and its many exciting assets and local businesses – including GCHQ. The teams were then set a compelling question:  

‘How do we ensure that all of our communities prosper from the Golden Valley Development?’ 

The teams were given a specific focus for their projects. Team Catalyst’s was to centre around making the development inclusive for the community, giving a clear line of sight as to how they would benefit from it, with Team Thrive’s emphasis being on placing a clear ask upon private sector businesses to support the community, employ local people, and enable residents to fulfil their potential. Gareth’s presentation had made clear that the council “believe in the power of local government to make a difference”. 

I'm feeling like this is a very exciting challenge, but also quite overwhelmed at the complexity about all of the different stakeholders – GCHQ, the National Cyber Security Centre, the councils, local community organisations…” 

– Rose, Team Catalyst Captain

Team Captain Rose speaking to her team

Team Catalyst’s laid out their ‘Inclusive Approach’, a 3-year action plan with specific interventions. The first step involved an ‘innovative consultation and engagement’ electric vehicle which would travel around introducing gamification initiatives to young people, with content designed by the local businesses and the cyber community, allowing them to visualise the future and connect with the planned National Cyber Innovation Centre. Another intervention was a ‘CyberBank’, focusing on residents who are digitally excluded, by collecting, wiping, and distributing pre-owned tech through schools and the voluntary sector.

We have got loads of meetings still to come. We’re building ideas about what we want to do around skills, apprenticeships, working with communities.”  

– Jack, Team Thrive Captain

Team Captain Jack

Team Thrive’s proposal centred around ‘The GVD Way’, a formula for businesses to follow so that they, and the borough, would succeed. This involved ‘The GVD Pledge’, a commitment for businesses to: build a pipeline of local talent, use buying power to support local businesses, and become proud members of the community with the ability to create positive difference. The team also gave careful consideration to funding, which would be done through sponsorships, levelling up bids, and utilising GVD project underspend. 


Deliberating down to the wire, the judges poured over the teams’ complex and ambitious plans. The eventual victor: Team Catalyst!

Getting those different perspectives from such energetic, thoughtful, clever, and passionate people is something that is a fantastic opportunity. And my message to any other chief executive of a local authority is apply, be part of this process because you get so much from it.”  

– Gareth Edmundson, Chief Executive, Cheltenham Borough Council


Gareth Edmundson, Chief Executive, Cheltenham Borough Council 

Claire Holloway, Head of Corporate Services & Company Secretary, Local Government Association

Dr. Diane Savory OBE, Chair of Workshop Group Ltd 

Vivienne Clements, Executive Director, HBD