An arthritis and fibromyalgia sufferer will do a sponsored 5k skip to raise money to introduce jump rope to Salford schools.

Helen Crossley, 46-year-old yoga teacher, better known as The Skipping Bee, has set up The Just Jump Project to bring the socially-distanced sport into schools and provide teens with their own skipping rope so they can jump anywhere.

The sponsored skip will take place on the December 27 in MediaCityUK.

Jump Rope Practice. Photo credit Helen Crossley, permission to use.

Helen said: “There is not very many sporting opportunities at the moment with Covid-19 and lockdown, but because jump rope is something you can do socially distanced and you can learn the tricks and join the amazing jump rope community on Instagram.

“While cycling, walking, running and other team sports all require leaving the house or travelling or being with others, skipping can be done anywhere with minimal space.”

Helen added: “Participation in sport often drops off in teenage years and never picks up again – especially amongst teenage girls – and the physical and mental health benefits of being active are too important to ignore.”

Photo Credit Helen Crossley, permission to use.

The project has already started at The Swinton Co-op Academy, Helen said: “Forty-five Year 11 students took part in the first week, and more joined the next week and it keeps growing and growing.

“The enthusiasm, passion and joy blossoming in the young women is amazing and it is helping them to become more body confident.”

Helen teamed up with another yoga teacher, Maggie Elliot, to start The Just Jump Project, because they were both passionate about encouraging young girls to use jump rope as a form of exercise. At their studio the two teachers enforce an anti-diet culture, and discourage before and after photos, focussing instead on building confidence.

Helen said: “I’ve got barriers with my Arthritis and Fibromyalgia, which makes jumping rope a challenge, but we call it being a fibro warrior! I want to set an example and show young girls that even though I have struggles, I can still do the 5K challenge and I hope that encourages them to try it.

“I dress as The Skipping Bee because I am a proud Mancunian, and I stand for everything the worker bee symbol stands for.”

Helen Crossley training for her 5K skip, photo credit Helen Crossley, permission to use.

Helen said: “Imagine if we could give every child in Greater Manchester a jump rope plus the opportunity to be as creative as possible with it, and everyone can be happy and healthy and keep fit during this pandemic.”

To help this cause, visit the Just Giving page by clicking here.

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