Milton Keynes charity launches skipping challenge to tackle the impact of Covid-19 on mental health

Milton Keynes-based charity Sports Traider has launched an online skipping challenge to help tackle the impact of Covid-19 on mental health.

The project is called 'Jump for Health' and the aim is to use skipping to help control anxiety, particularly in young people.

We have a very successful campaign where we're helping girls that are self harming by putting them through boxing and part of boxing is skipping and I noticed how effective that was at controlling anxiety so that was the eureka moment thinking let's get everyone skipping... Jump for Health is a bit like the Ice Bucket Challenge but no so cold, it's having fun but being effective.

Lance Haggith, Founder, Sports Traider
Liam with his mum Vicky. Credit: ITV News Anglia

14-year-old Liam is using exercise to help improve his physical and mental health.

He's been struggling to cope during the pandemic.

He said he was having dark thoughts, suicidal thoughts, threatening to self-harm, very angry and very anxious, not sleeping too well.

Vicky Beale, Liam's mother

Yeah, it was tough, I didn't want to come out of my room, the only time i went out was to go to the toilet or get some food and just speak to my friends because that was the only thing that made me happy at the time.

Liam Kidd

Vicky reached out to Sports Traider who gave Liam a mentor, Samir.

Liam with his mentor Samir. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Liam now helps Samir coach semi professional football players.

The transformation has been fantastic, he's grown in confidence, he's finding his voice as well and especially when he's assisting me in some of my sessions and he's getting involved... now we're really close, really close and I love the guy to bits.

Samir Amadu, Liam's mentor

There's already a few famous faces on board with the campaign.

Pete Thompson from Bedford holds five world records for skipping. He's supplying a thousand skipping ropes for the challenge.

The first ever skipping rope I got was from the Sports Traider charity in Bedford. I started skipping to support my own wellbeing, I was really struggling with depression and anxiety at the time and I found jumping in time to music really therapeutic and it dramatically changed my lifestyle, so I'm really keen to raise awareness of how skipping and exercising can improve our overall wellbeing.

Pete Thompson, Skipping world record holder
Pete Thompson from Bedford holds five world records for skipping. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Former England international cricketer Monty Panesar is also backing the campaign.

The charity hopes the challenge will become an internet sensation, and that a few simple jumps will help a lot of people.

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