Get up, get active and let’s get through this together!

It is no secret that 2020 and the Covid-19 pandemic have seen many people affected in different ways. Some people have lost loved ones, been seriously ill themselves or suffered from mental health issues. There is a lot of ongoing research about how the year of the lockdown has had a detrimental impact on our mental health and it is no surprise that cases of anxiety, stress and depression have risen nationally, amongst both adults and children.

Many of us will admit to having become a bit of a ‘couch potato’ this year. With the second lockdown now upon us, dark nights and Christmas approaching, getting on the scales could become a painful experience. However, there is strong scientific evidence that being physically active can lead to a healthier and happier life, boost your self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and also reduce the risk of developing stress and depression.

Northern Education Trust, that runs several schools in the Tees area, are inviting their whole academy community to have some much needed fun and take part in any exercise people feel comfortable doing, whilst raising money for two great causes.

A spokesperson at Northern Education Trust says, “We want to try to give our students, our staff and our wider community something positive to focus on until we break up for Christmas. That is why we are launching our ‘Passport to 2021 Challenge’, in the hope that 2021 will be a better year.”

The basic idea is that between now and the start of the Christmas break, everyone will complete 2021 exercises. For example, the physically fit may decide to do 500 sit-ups, 500 burpees, 500 air squats, 500 alternating lunges and 21 star jumps. Those less physically fit may decide to do something as simple as 1021 leg raises and 1000 fist clenches. Families could even choose to have a daily workout, with extended family joining on Zoom! The only thing to consider is that exercise must be carried out safely and following government guidelines in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Students taking part in the Northern Education Trust academies have been issued with a passport and a badge. On the passport, there are 21 boxes. The first 20 boxes are to be used to record each set of 100 exercises. After each 500 is achieved, the academies are encouraging students to attend their PROUD celebrations with their passport to receive a certificate, and then a completion certificate once the passport is full.

The Northern Education Trust spokesperson adds, “We would love to see how you are doing. Remember to share your photos and videos on your academy social media so we can see your progress during the challenge – this really could be a wonderful opportunity to have some fun and get fit together!”

As a community, the Northern Education Trust is using the challenge to raise money to support The Sick Children’s Trust which is working for a future where every family with a seriously ill child in hospital can stay together, close to their child’s bedside. Half the proceeds of the fundraising go to The Sick Children’s Trust, and the other half will be donated to some of the families of the children and young people in the academies who desperately need some support due to the sad and difficult circumstances they find themselves in this year.

This is a great opportunity for us all to show support to the students at the four Northern Education Trust academies here in the Tees area, Frederick Nattrass Primary Academy, The Oak Tree Academy, The Grangefield Academy, North Shore Academy and Norton Primary Academy, as they complete the challenge.

If you would like to donate, please visit the Go Fund Me page at


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