BBC Children in Need: Joe Wicks and Laura Whitmore launch 2020 schools fundraising appeal

BBC Children in Need has announced Joe Wicks will be returning for the charity’s 2020 Appeal as the Schools Ambassador. Joe is leading this year’s primary schools campaign, ‘Five to Thrive’, which aims to unite children in schools across the UK in a week of activities to enhance their own wellbeing. In addition, Laura Whitmore lends her support to the charity’s schools fundraising appeal by asking secondary school pupils and teachers across the nation to ‘Come As You Are’ – by wearing what they feel makes them comfortable in aid of the charity. Schools are invited to download a fundraising pack from bbc.co.uk/Pudsey. Primary Schools who download a fundraising pack will enter a draw to win a special online workout with Joe Wicks.

The focus of this year’s primary schools campaign, ‘Five to Thrive’, is on supporting children’s mental wellbeing and resilience. Recent research commissioned by BBC Children in Need shows that the last six months have had a real impact on children and young people’s wellbeing. The nationwide survey of 831 parents and 697 children and young people respectively revealed that 94% of children and young people have had cause to feel worried, sad or anxious in the last six months, since the UK went into lockdown. Six months after lockdown, nearly half (45%) of parents feel that their child displays more feelings of worry or anxiety than they did before the Covid-19 pandemic unfolded.

The ‘Five to Thrive’ campaign is based on the 5 Ways to Wellbeing and will have five key themes: Connect, Take Notice, Get Active, Be Curious, and Give. In the run up to BBC Children in Need on 13 November, primary schools will be provided with video content from Joe Wicks and friends including Dr Radha Modgil every day of the Appeal week (beginning Monday 9 November), with a day dedicated to each of the Five to Thrive themes. The content will help children to learn new skills such as journaling and improve their mood through movement. Resources created to support learning and to offer daily activities will also be available from BBC Children in Need’s Official Education Partner, Twinkl. These free materials will be available for every primary school in the UK.

The primary schools campaign will also see the return of Joe’s extremely popular ‘PE with Joe’ especially for BBC Children in Need on the morning of the Appeal day, Friday 13 November, which will also mark an opportunity for primary schools to fundraise with a non-uniform day.

The secondary schools campaign, supported by Laura Whitmore, invites schools to host a ‘Come As Yourself Day’: a non-uniform day which will give pupils the opportunity to wear what makes them feel most confident. The campaign aims to help pupils recognise the qualities that make each of them special and unique and embrace each other’s differences whilst raising money for BBC Children in Need.

Last year’s campaign, led by Joe, is estimated to have reached 3m children in 17,000 schools throughout the UK. Speaking of the campaign, Joe Wicks said: “It’s brilliant to have the opportunity to make a difference to children and young people right across the UK who are feeling the effects of a challenging time over the last six months. I hope to see all of the schools across the nation get involved and help raise money so BBC Children in Need can continue to fund projects in communities all over the UK; many of these projects are likely just down the road from you, that continue to be a lifeline to children in need of support. Together, we can help local charities and projects continue their work in every corner of the UK.”

Speaking of the Secondary schools campaign, Laura Whitmore added: “I am urging secondary school pupils and teachers to celebrate their uniqueness and be true to themselves during Come As You Are Day. Sometimes I feel like I can’t be myself or that I should fit into a box, so for any secondary school pupils feeling the same, this special day will provide an opportunity to wear what they want and style their hair as they wish, all whilst raising much needed funds to support children and young people facing disadvantage in the UK.”

BBC Children in Need’s schools 2020 fundraising packs are available to download now from BBC.co.uk/Pudsey.

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