Organisers of the UK’s biggest charity skipping challenge are inviting the people of Staffordshire to join in with celebrities and sports stars in helping to raise awareness for mental health.
The Jump4Health campaign has been organised by Sports Traider – a national charity which works with young people to help them gain employment and sporting opportunities.
Founder of Sports Traider, and winner of the 2010 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Unsung Hero, Lance Haggith, was keen to start the campaign in response to affects of the coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “The coronavirus pandemic has had a huge impact on people’s mental health, it’s a real concern and we want to help make a difference. Mental health is a serious issue and in the last year or so, we have seen a dramatic increase in young children, and also parents and guardians, who have been struggling to cope during the lockdown. Feelings of isolation and even being subject to abuse in the home has all been really tough. I have never had so many people talk to me about suicide since the charity started in 2009.”
The former National league basketball player and coach added: “Sports has played a great part in my life and can have such a positive affect on a person’s wellbeing in many ways and now through skipping we want to help raise awareness for mental health and provide more services via our charity.
“Skipping really works to stimulate the mindset plus you can do it anywhere – in the garden, at work – anywhere with enough room to swing a skipping rope.
“We have already been receiving support from a lot of celebrities and sports stars and we are asking the people of Staffordshire, and the nation – the world – to Jump to it and help support us, to support as many people as we can.”
Celebrities, front-line workers and sports stars are taking part in the challenge which is to skip for around 20 seconds, non-stop, before nominating others to do the same.
Former international cricketer Monty Panesar, TV presenter Mike Bushell and presenter Linda Lusardi are just a few of well-known faces which have already pledged their support and taken part in the challenge – with more and more doing the same. (Watch videos here)
Each person who takes part is asked to video themselves skipping and share the footage on social media using the hashtags #jump4health and #SportsTraider
For the skipping challenge Sports Traider have teamed up with the founder of Skip Beatz Skillz Ropes – Peter Thompson who is a five times skipping World Record holder and these can be purchased for £5 via the charity’s website where special T-shirts can also be purchased and other donations can also be made. Also please head to www.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/Skipping All profits from the campaign go towards increasing mental health services at the charity.
Lance added: “Our skipping ropes have been used by five times skipping World Record holder Peter Thompson and are great and we have already been inundated with requests for them.”
Sports Traider has a chain of six charity shops in the UK, including by the Potteries Shopping Centre, in Lamb Street, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent which opened in 2016 and is run by volunteers and staff. Funds from the shop go towards the charity which invests in sports participation projects and provides support to the whole community by offering work experience to the disabled, young people, the long-term unemployed, disadvantaged groups, and ex-offenders. So far more than 3,000 days of work experience have been provided throughout all of the UK shops.