EXERCISING AT HOME: Fitness Tips for adults with or without kids to get active

EXERCISING AT HOME: Fitness Tips for adults with or without kids to get active

We normally love outdoor adventures as a family to keep fit and active but sometimes this is not possible with weather, finance, motivation and many other barriers. All is not lost however as we have some fitness tips to keep active at home.

Yorkshire Families founder and feel-good fitness advocate and single mum Sophie Mei Lan shares her top tips:

– Dance at home: Put on some music and have a disco. If you live with others or have kids take it in turn to select a song or be DJ and maybe even have a dance off… a bit of competition in our house always boosts our level of dance fitness!

– Make obstacle courses around the house or in the garden if you have one and the weather allows.

– Keep fit whilst doing the chores: I often hold a squat whilst washing up or lunge whilst hoovering or do squats whilst waiting for the kettle to boil.

– If you have young kids use them to as weights! We do sit ups together or a game called ‘flyer’ where I make them fly on my legs whilst doing crunches for my abs.

– Access free online workouts from Joe Wicks on YouTube for the kids to my own dance at home fitness playlist on YouTube.com/sophiemeilan for adults. Or we have a Women’s Health Club on facebook called Squats and Sparkles but there’s lots of other ones too. There’s also lots of free workouts on instagram too.

– Download the Move GB app to keep fit at home with live workouts, dance classes, yoga and fitness programmes bit.ly/mamameiblog (affiliate link)

– Keep motivated and read blogs such as Just Average Jen who shares her list of top things to do at home for other adults wanting to keep fit and loose weight: https://www.justaveragejen.com/weight-loss-exercise

Most of all HAVE FUN! I love doing something active first thing so my brain doesn’t have time to persuade me out of it… it always boosts my mood and doesn’t have to cost anything. Even if you have kids and they don’t join in at first… eventually they will or at least they’re picking up on positive things to do at home!

What’s your favourite thing to do to keep active at home? Chat to us on facebook and twitter @yorkshirefamilies and @yorkshirefams on instagram.


Educational Publisher creates free ebook to support children returning to school after lockdown

Educational Publisher creates free ebook  to support children returning to school after lockdown

Friday May 29th 2020

Sheffield based company, Twinkl Educational Publishing has released an electronic book (ebook) which focuses on the experiences that children may have faced during lockdown and the emotions they may experience when returning to school in the coming months.

The free ebook, In It Together, introduces four characters who demonstrate how their life has changed due to the closure of schools.  The simple text and child-friendly illustrations show the characters as they live, learn and love during lockdown. They are seen practising social distancing, learning from home, clapping for carers, and missing friends and family.

The Twinkl team understands that returning to school after lockdown will be a challenging and emotional time for children. According to Barnardos, 88% of school staff said the pandemic is likely to have an effect on the mental health and wellbeing of their pupils.

A number of concerned parents and carers have also reached out to Twinkl through its social media groups and customer support, asking for resources to support their children or pupil’s return to class.

Twinkl encourages parents, carers and teachers to use the story to talk to children about COVID-19 and going back to school, if they are returning. The company also offers further free resources and advice on its site.

The Twinkl Originals book was written, illustrated, designed and published in a matter of weeks as the team recognised the need to support children as schools reopen on the 1st June.

The children’s story is available for free on the Twinkl website and the Twinkl Originals app, which is available for download on the App Store and Google Play. The story is one of the educational publishers Twinkl Originals, a range of books that the company has been producing since 2018.

There is also a reading of the book from a former teacher and team member at Twinkl, available on the Twinkl YouTube channel.

Jonathan Seaton, Co-Founder and CEO at Twinkl, said: “At Twinkl, we understand how extremely challenging the current situation is for parents, teachers and children. We wanted to create a story targeted at young children to support them with their return to school. The team have worked incredibly hard to produce a story which allows children to talk openly about their concerns. We hope that it will encourage conversations and be useful to people at this time.”

Katherine Richardson, a parent and reader said: “It helped my daughter to show empathy for other children’s circumstances during lockdown and how they might be different to hers. It has given her the reassurance she needed for the next step of this journey.”

Kate Parnham, a parent and reader said: “My daughter loved it. She liked seeing how some of the characters have been doing similar things to what she’s been doing whilst at home and also how the character, Matthew, is like some of her friends who have been in school during this time.”

Twinkl’s mission is to help those who teach and the company offers over 640,000 teaching and learning materials on its website, which are all teacher created and checked. The company has recently created a free Home Learning Hub, full of daily activities and materials, to support parents, teachers and carers during school closures.


CRAFTS AT HOME: How to make dragons, chocolate bubble wrap + Parcel Tape Feet

CRAFTS AT HOME: How to make dragons, chocolate bubble wrap + Parcel Tape Feet

We enjoy crafting in this house, but with limited supplies and exhausted list of go-to crafts… we were in need of some more inspiration and some simple crafts to do at home to keep the kids entertained…

Fortunately Viking Direct saved the day and got in touch with us to gift some household supplies and guide us through some entertaining crafts to do at home. You can watch and follow along by clicking on the video above or follow the written guide below…

Three Great Craft Activities for Kids from Viking 

Finding activities to keep the kids entertained that don’t involve a games console or staring at television can be tough. At Viking, we’ve got three great ideas to beat the boredom with crafty and creative ideas. 

Fire Breathing Dragon 

1. Clean your working area and wash your hands or use some hand sanitiser before starting. 

2. Take a sheet of A4 paper. Measure how high your toilet roll tube is and then cut a strip of paper along the long side of the A4 using that measurement.  

3. Spread glue over your toilet roll holder and then glue your paper to the toilet roll tube and cut where the paper overlaps. Trim off any edges that overlap the opening if needed.  

4. Add eyes and a nose to your dragon’s body, do this by using a Sharpie to draw the eyes and then draw a little square under your eye. This square will fold back and be glued down so that the dragon eyes stay upright. Do the same for the nose and glue the eyes and nose down. 

5. Cut tissue paper into strips no longer than about 10cm in length and about a finger’s width. Glue the strips to the top (this would be where the dragon eyes and nose are placed) and bottom of the inside of the toilet roll tube. There’s no need to add tissue paper to the sides of the toilet roll, at this point it’s fine if the tissue paper overlaps.  

6. Hold your dragon at an angle in front of you and breathe into the toilet roll tube – you’ll see it’s tissue paper fire breath come to life!  

Chocolate Bubble Wrap  

1. We loved using Aero chocolate for this activity as it was so easy for little hands to break this apart. It just crumbled with little pressure, making it the perfect chocolate to use.  

2. As we’ll be touching food products everyone should wash their hands or use some hand sanitiser.  

3. Clean your working area thoroughly.  

4. Cut a small piece of bubble wrap about A4 size and just give it a quick wash and dry it.  

5. Crumble about 3-4 chocolate bars into a small bowl using your fingers to squash the Aero and watch it crumble beautifully into the bowl.  

6. Wash your hands to clean away all the chocolate bits left on your hand.  

7. Melt in the microwave at 30 second increments. Ensure you stir after each 30 second blast, so you can evenly distribute the heat and help it melt quicker.  

8. Pour the melted chocolate onto the bubble wrap and then spread it over evenly with a spatula or knife, making sure it’s not too thinly spread.  

9. Pop it into the fridge for about 30 minutes to set.  

10. Whilst the chocolate is setting clean your working area again wiping away any spilt chocolate etc.  

11. After its set peel back the bubble wrap from the chocolate and be amazed at your homemade chocolate bubble wrap.  

Parcel Tape Feet 

Make sure to clean your working area and wash your hands before starting on this activity. 

1. Cut a straw in half and tape it (using the parcel tape) to the inside of the parcel tape roll making sure the straws stick out of the edge of the tape on opposite sides (i.e. left and right) and that they are placed on opposite ends (i.e. top and bottom) inside the parcel tape roll. Take a look at the image to help you place the straws. You only need a finger’s width of straw coming out of the tube so trim off any excess.  

2. Remove the cotton wool from the cotton buds on both ends. If you’re using a kebab stick, there’s no need to trim at all.  

3. Take a sheet of A4 paper and fold it half. Then trace around your child’s foot or get siblings to help each other to do this. Cut two little feet out of the paper.  

4. Place your feet (ensuring it’s a left and right foot side by side) and tape the cotton bud to the inside of each foot (using image as a guide).  

5. Slot the cotton buds into the straw, roll the parcel tape and watch your feet walk!  

Yorkshire Families were chuffed to receive the parcel of goodies to make crafts at home with Viking!

Jane who led the workshop can be found here:


Yorkshire Attractions and Leisure activities set to reopen from July 4th

Yorkshire Attractions and Leisure activities set to reopen from July 4th

concrete building under blue sky

The UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson lifted restrictions for certain parts of hospitality and leisure sector to reopen in England only with the 2 metre rule reduced to 1 metre.  Here’s a list of places you will be able to go to from 4th July:

Hotels, Bed and Breakfasts and Holiday homes

A lot of us have had holidays cancelled so it’s welcomed that we can go back on our UK staycations and make the most of hotels, B&B’s and return to those beloved holiday homes.

Here’s a couple of hotels and B&B’s that we’ve found are opening up again:

Oulton Hall Hotel Leeds 4th July

The Judges Lodging Hotel York 4th July

Pickersgill Bed and Breakfast in Yorkshire are taking bookings again from 3rd July

With the sunny weather setting in, now’s the time to book those holiday parks, boarding houses, campsites and caravanning trips again. We have fond memories of camping, doing a fairy trail and seeing the gauges at Studfold Camp  and caravan site in North Yorkshire.

Here’s a couple of examples of campsites, Caravan Parks and Boarding houses we’ve found are reopening:

North Yorkshire Moors campsite

Knaresborough campsite

Caravan parks

Black Bull Caravan Park in Pickering  is reopening on 4th July,

Flower of May Caravan Park in Scarborough is reopening 4th July

Boarding houses

Willow Dene Guest House will be opening from 10th July

Woodlands Farm Guest House reopening from 4th July

While you can now attend churches, mosques, synagogues and places of worship for private prayer, on 4th July all places of worship will be open but singing is banned.

Here is one place of worship that is open for individual prayer

York Minster is open for Individual prayer

We all know the power of reading and learning…  so it’s with a welcomed relief that libraries are also set to reopen which are much valued free resources for many people.

Here’s a example of a library which could reopen in July:

Wakefield Libraries could reopen July

Love or hate your workplace canteens,  when things suddenly shut we suddenly miss the convenience of it, and work canteens are also set to reopen.

For people who enjoy a drink after a tough week at work, here’s a few pubs and bars that will be reopening, providing they’re Covid secure:

Ecclesall Road in Sheffield has lots of places to eat and drink to Westgate Run in Wakefield and Call Lane in Leeds…. There will be a welcome return to some nightlife for pubs and bars throughout Yorkshire.

Here’s some cinemas in Yorkshire that will be reopening in July:

Film buffs and movie lovers can breathe a sigh of relief  with cinemas set to reopen too.  Multiplexes and smaller screens have been closed since the coronavirus pandemic  but will start to reopen from July 4th.   Showcase Cinema will reopen from July 4th, Cineworld will reopen on 31st July as a delay in film releases has been blamed for this, Vue cinemas is hoping for a mid-July reopening and Picturehouse cinemas will reopen from July 31st, whereas Odeon, Curzon and Everyman are yet to announce when they are reopening, with independent cinema and The Showroom in Sheffield pencilling in mid September for their reopening.

Museums and galleries

We’ll be keeping an eye out for when Leeds Galleries and Museums, Sheffield Galleries, York Gallery and Wakefield Museums amongst all the other fabulous venues from across our region re-open.

Hepworth Museum is reopening 1st August, the Bill Brandt/Henry Moore exhibition will be extended until 1st November, and advance booking is strongly recommended. Initially the gallery will open Wednesday to Sunday 10am-5pm.

Jorvik Viking Centre is reopening on 11th July and here you are standing on the site of one of the most famous and astounding pieces of archaeology.

Outdoor playgrounds

From local parks to treetop adventures, summer is the perfect time to go outdoors with the family.

If your kids like going to outdoor playgrounds, then here’s a few outdoor playgrounds you can go to from July:

We can’t wait to get swinging from the through the Treetops at Go Ape Adventures … we’ll be heading to Normanby Hall near Scunthorpe, this is reopening in July, but you will need to book from 4th July if you want to have a go at these adventures.

Now is the time to go paddling, or wild swimming where allowed! Padley Gorge, near Sheffield South Yorkshire is located in the Peak District in Derbyshire near Hathersage and Grindleford. It’s a stunning place to walk, a paddle in the stream and to take a picnic too.  The kids love it as you can park close to the roadside, there’s normally an ice cream  van, short walks and the stream is easy to get across.

Mama mei.co.uk says: “I have fond memories of here as a child we would start at Padley Gorge for a splash and a picnic then we would walk to Grindleford and stop at Grindleford Cafe then walk back and have a soft drink or food at the Fox House pub near by.”

Parking at Padley Gorge is free on the roadside but check signs for parking rules or there is parking at the Fox House pub if you are going there or alternatively a short walk away is the Longshaw Estate which is a National Trust Property and parking is £4 for the day.

Padley Gorge is reopening

There’s also Slippery Stones for paddling, wild swimming and picnics.

Theme parks

If you enjoy going to theme parks, then here’s a few theme parks in Yorkshire that will be reopening in July:

North Yorkshire Theme Park in Scarborough is a theme park where you can make a splash, you can blast on the floating inflatable AquaPark, challenge yourself by experiencing open water  swimming, and their lakeside cafes serve serves delicious hot and cold food, surrounded by picturesque countryside, this has been reopen since June 13th.

Flamingo Land Resort Yorkshire  is Yorkshire’s ultimate Theme Park attraction & an award winning zoo, plus a luxury resort village for family days out, holidays and short breaks.  However the zoo is only open at the moment.

Lightwater Valley is hoping to reopen on Saturday 18th July  and still has most of the rides it had before lockdown, however there is a few that will remain closed including: The Ultimate, Raptor Attack and Apollo rides.

Amusement arcades

Not opening yet

If you like self-contained apartments, then here’s an example of a model village that is opening from 1st July.  It’s cottages, houses and shops are lovingly hand-crafted and give a taste, in miniature, of traditional village life

Bondville Model Village in Sewerby in the East Riding of Yokshire,


BBC RADIO LEEDS : Sport reporting/commentary tips for people who want to do sports reporting.


sport reporter

BBC Radio Leeds did a callout on their Sport Twitter page for any budding sports reporters to attend a virtual workshop to learn some tips, and our accessibility correspondent Dan was one of the lucky ones chosen, and here’s what he learnt:

BBC Radio Leeds sports reporting tips with Adam Pope and James Deighton


We all logged in at 6:45pm, we all had a chat, then they gave tips on reporting e.g start with score, don’t overdo detail, end with score, YOUR Opinion of the game and everything must be from perspective of Our team,

OUR Team


So this means that you need to react to things happening for example if you’re working for BBC Radio Leeds and its Wakefield v Hull for example, if Wakefield score you need to be happy and energetic with commentary, if Hull score you need to be despondent and if it’s 2 West Yorkshire teams playing each other for example Featherstone v Halifax then you’d probably react the same kind of way as you can’t really be biased when its 2 teams from same county.

They then gave us tips on


Knowing the audience


So this means that you need to give them information, and don’t assume they’ve been there for the whole commentary, as they may not have been  , then they moved onto :

Commentating tips, Context of commentary


So examples of this are: Become familiar with all areas of the pitch, use tone and tempo to describe flow of play, use rise and fall in delivery for easy listening, avoid (weird) words and phrases or repetition,


Don’t use jargon as people may not understand you and just be yourself


Avoid Alan Partridge moments which are saying thing he may say

Things to Avoid,


Which are: No player nicknames, Don’t say “we” in relation to a team, cut down on the clichés, don’t mention match summariser in commentary, as they can take over if you are reading your notes for example.


They then gave us some advice on what it’s like working with a summariser, bias, post-match interview dos and don’t then they ended with trying to tell us not to try mispronounce players names.


They also said at the end that if anyone had any bits of commentary , they could send them over to them and they will give feedback to them.

By Dan Crossfield, check out Dan’s sports reports at https://danssportsblogweb.wordpress.com




THE BEST BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT ACTS 2020: The Great British Variety Show is back on TV

THE BEST BRITAIN’S GOT TALENT ACTS 2020: The Great British Variety Show is back on TV

From Dance Troupes to Magic Marines to a Rock ‘n’ roll Granny… Britain’s Got Talent judges Simon Cowell, David Walliams, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon have had a lot of acts to enjoy and some to endure this year.

Here’s a round-up of our top acts so far… (written by Dan our accessibility correspondent who is part of Yorkshire-based CoActive Arts charity and would normally be sports reporting so he is keeping entertained from Wakefield, West Yorkshire by the hit ITV show instead!)…

Episode 1:

From Dance troupe, sign language act to David Walliams pressed his Golden buzzer, here’s what happened in episode 1:

Nu Crew who were a dance troupe, I liked these as I liked the way they moved differently, they got 4 yeses, and were thorough to the next round. ( Favourite)

Sign along with Us – these were a brother and sister act and some other adults, but the brother of the sister couldn’t speak properly, so they decided to sing and do sign language to the Greatest Showman’s This is Me, they were brilliant, and they got David Walliams’ Golden Buzzer which puts them straight through to the live finals whenever they may be. (Favourite)

So in summary, I would say that some of the acts in this episode were good, whilst others were not, but in general the standard for the first episode was good, as you always want a couple of decent acts to see how the show may progress, and also you know when a decent one comes along that David, Alesha, Amanda or Simon will press their Golden Buzzer.

Episode 2:

From  a Magic marine to an entertainer and to Ant and Dec pressing their Golden Buzzer, here’s what happened in episode 2

James Stott was a Magic marine.  He had 6 tags, he asked Simon Cowell to choose 1 and not reveal to anyone which one it was. He then had a dagger knife, and asked Simon to place it under the bag that corresponded to the tag Simon chose, and using his powers as a marine, he worked out that it was under number 5 as he left that one to last, and he revealed that the knife was there.

His next part was that the 5 plungers on the stage that were connected to the boxes near the judges, Simon then had to release the plungers in order he chose, so he started with number 5, then he chose plunger 2 which let off explosives, then he chose another 1, did same, and finally he chose number 3 and James Stott revealed they were 50/50 from potential disaster, and luckily Simon chose the right one.  I enjoyed this act, as it was magic and danger at same time. He got 4 yeses and got through to the next stage.

Jon Courtenay was a pianist Entertainer, and he sang a song about the history of BGT, I personally thought it was good, and the judges were about to vote when Ant and Dec came down, and pressed the Golden Buzzer which means he’s through to the live shows.

These 2 were 2 of the ones I liked from this episode.

Episode 3 :

From a Tribute act to a singer and Simon Cowell buzzing the singer “booooo”, here’s what happened:

Elite Elton- Tribute act to Elton John, I enjoyed this one but the judges didn’t and he got 4 red buzzers and 4 no’s.

Bhim Naroula was a singer who sang a song called: I want to love you Every day dedicated to his wife, I really enjoyed this act as his song was catchy and 3 of the 4 judges liked it, so he got through to the next stage.

Episode 4:

From mother and daughter singing to the oldest ever contestant and Amanda Holden pressing her Golden Buzzer, here’s what happened

Honey and Sammy were mother and daughter singers and Sammy had been diagnosed with cancer, so they wanted to sing a song together, however Simon didn’t like the song 1sttime, so asked if they could come back later and try again, so they did and they were better, and they got Amanda’s Golden Buzzer, which put them straight through to the live shows.

Nora was a singer who had Alzheimer’s and was the oldest auditionee ever on BGT .  I THOUGHT SHE WAS GOOD, THE JUDGES LIKED HER AND SHE GOT 4 YESES.

Episode 5:

From a dinosaur playing piano to an emotional dog act, here’s what happened

Dario the dinosaur- I liked this one as it was something different that’s never been on BGT before, even Simon liked it and it got 3 yeses.

Miracle the Dog and Amanda- This was a really emotional act, as it showed what Miracle went through which was horrific, and Amanda asked Simon if he could divide the cards into 4 roughly equal piles, and asked him to take 1, and pass 3 to Amanda and so on. Miracle told Amanda which 4 dogs he wanted to take with them to BGT, then Amanda asked the judges which dogs they had chosen, and then it turned out the 4 dogs were the exact ones the judges Miracle chose, and they got 4 yeses.


Episode 6:

From spoon playing brothers to rock n roll grandma , here’s what happened

A few acts I liked from this episode were the Lozkha Brothers as they tricked the judges because they told them they were a danger act, but it turned out they were playing the spoons, I liked it and they got 4 yeses.

Another act I found funny was the magician from Sweden as he did magic with rabbits.

Another good act was Crissy who was the rock n roll grandma and I liked Simon’s comment which was: “I though t you were going to be a really bad comedian, and I’d have to pretend to like you because of your age, but you were really good”.   She got 4 yeses.

My final act I liked was a young girl who couldn’t see properly so Ant had to help her both onto stage and to the piano, and she was really good, the judges liked her and she got 4 yeses.

What are your favourite acts so far? I’d love to know your best and worst of my favourite TV Variety show.

SELF HELP TIPS for managing uncertain times for people with learning disabilities

SELF HELP TIPS for managing uncertain times for people with learning disabilities

What does Lockdown and the Coronavirus Pandemic mean for people with learning disabilities?

Our accessibility blogger Dan has written these tips which he has found helps him in these uncertain times…

Tips for people with Learning disabilities to help them manage this period

I know staying at home can be hard for adults with learning disabilities in this strange time, but I have some tips to help them manage this period.

My tips are:

1)      Try and make sure you have some kind of structure to your days – for example mine is: TV in a morning, bit of work in the afternoon, more TV on a night.


2)      Talk to someone at least once a day  whether it be a carer you have, support worker, parent if you have one, or just even ringing or texting a member of staff of a group you go to, can be helpful.


3)      Try and make sure you exercise at least once a day so that you have some fresh air inside your lungs, and gets you out of the house for half hour, an hour


4)      Don’t watch too much news as it can scare you


5)      Do something you enjoy doing every day to help you feel more relaxed


Dan also wants to share why he claps for carers on a Thursday…


Every Thursday evening for just a minute, people all across the UK step onto their doorsteps or balconies and they clap, not only for the NHS staff who are keeping the country going,  but they’re also clapping for the carers who are having to work through these tough times.

I have lots of people who I see as carers: my parents, staff at CoActive, In the Sky,  GT Care whether that be in the group or on a 1:1 basis, doctors, dentists when I have appointments.

I’ll explain why I see each of these are carers, and what they do for me.

Why I see my parents as carers is they take me to a couple of my groups in normal times, and they don’t mind dropping me off and picking me back up again,  they make my food for me, and they do loads of other stuff for me, so that’s why I see them as carers.

Why I see staff at CoActive as carers are:  they’re really helpful and ask if I’m OK with activities we do,  and if they don’t think I’m doing something right they explain to me what I should be doing in a simple way , and then I do it again. They’re all fantastic at their job as well which helps.

In the Sky staff are carers, as they ask me what I’ve been up to during the week, and they listen to me.  Performance wise if I’m in the wrong place on stage or I get a line wrong, they let me know and they let me do it again.

GT Care staff  are carers as it’s in their name , and when I’m in a group which is on a Tuesday and Saturday night, they come and pick me up, take me to wherever we go, so on a Tuesday that’s for tea at a pub, followed by a game of bowling, and then they take me home when it’s time, and on a Saturday they take a group of us to Carlton Social Club where there’s darts, bingo, a singer usually although occasionally there’s something else e.g. a comedian, and then when it’s time they drop me off at home and they ask me sometimes if things are OK. I also have a 1:1 on a Friday who picks me up, goes with me to In the Sky, and then drops me off home at the end when it’s time.

Doctors and dentists are carers as they do check-ups so  doctors is usually a health check every year and just a general checkup.  Dentists are either for check-ups or for fillings if needs be.

How my Cares are helping me through this Covid 19 crisis… 

The groups I used to go to have all got some kind of way of keeping members of the group connected in some sort of way. Whether it be via Zoom or an online chat group or DVD (such as CoActive charity who are making the DVD to hand deliver to their members each week as not everyone can get online. The DVD includes the normal sessions that the creative arts charity would normally put on for adults with learning difficulties).

So that’s a list of carers I have and why I clap for them.



A competition has been launched by Royal Crown Derby to encourage young people to use their artistic skills to celebrate the NHS – and leave a lasting legacy of the vital role of healthcare professionals in these unprecedented times. 

The company has created the ‘Make a Mug, Make a Difference’ competition, which will see winning designs exhibited in the V & A, and rolled out into production. 

Royal Crown Derby Artisans aim to produce 26,299 of the winning designs, to celebrate every day since the formation of the NHS on 5 July 1948 to its 72nd anniversary in 2020.  


The competition has two entry categories, for the under 12s and 12-18- year- olds. 

Entries will be shortlisted by Royal Crown Derby’s in-house design team, before artist and children’s author Liz Million selects the winner in each category. 

Both mugs will be priced at £30, with 100 per cent of profits being donated directly to the ‘NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal.’   

The mugs are immediately available to pre-order via the Royal Crown Derby website and each purchase includes a free ticket to tour the Royal Crown Derby factory and museum. Those wishing to buy the mug as a gift have the option to add a personalised gift message to their delivery.  

Managing Director, Christopher Oakes, said: “Everyone at Royal Crown Derby had a strong ambition to support the NHS, especially as many of our team have front line workers in their immediate family.  

“We explored several options, but we ultimately chose this campaign as it allows us to support the NHS by offering 100 per cent of our profits and help British families who are also facing unprecedented challenges.  

“We hope our entry packs will give children a much-needed challenge, boost creativity, and encourage them to learn about how precious the NHS is. 

“We’ve added the option to include a personalised message card as we hope many mugs will be given as gifts to loved ones or as a thank you to the frontline hero’s, who are protecting and serving us all.”      

Royal Crown Derby is the oldest surviving British pottery maker and has a long history of creating high quality commemorative pieces dating right back to the coronation of King George III in 1761.  

Today it makes luxury fine bone china for retailers, hotels and restaurants and, whilst many of its clients have temporarily closed due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the company is still able and willing to make the mugs and make a difference.   

Museum Director, Elizabeth Woledge added “It has been a real pleasure to work together on this campaign.  

“Our entry packs encourage young people to explore the process of design and explore their creative abilities.  

“Royal Crown Derby’s history includes the work of some extremely talented artists and designers, some of whom were working as apprentices as young as 13.  

“We are looking forward to opening the entries and seeing some of the amazing talent which we know is out there among young people today.”   

Competition entries are now open and will close at 4 pm on May 7, 2020.  The winners will be invited to Derby to meet the design team and see how the mugs are made from start to finish at the factory, in the heart of England.  

The winners will also take a tour of the Palace of Westminster with Jo Gideon MP and will be presented with the first mug off the production line together with their framed artwork.  

They’ll also visit the V&A, the world’s leading museum of art, design and performance, where their mugs will be exhibited.  

Tristram Hunt. Director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, said “The V&A is delighted to be able to endorse this important and innovative response by Royal Crown Derby to the COVID-19 emergency.   

“Our front-line workers need all the help and funding possible, and it is wonderful to see a great British pottery company encouraging ceramic skills with the next generation in support of such a worthy cause.  

“We look forward to welcoming the winning young designers to the V&A in South Kensington.” 

Jo Gideon MP, commented “As an MP and Parliamentary Private Secretary to BEIS (department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy) I’m passionate about the NHS, the future of young people and business, including the ceramic industry.  

“That’s why I’m delighted to support this amazing competition, which not only celebrates our wonderful NHS but will raise much needed funds for the NHS All Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal.” 

Royal Crown Derby are also grateful for the generous support of Global Ceramic Materials limited who are generously providing a discount on the raw materials meaning that even more money can be donated to the NHS Charities Together COVID-19 Urgent Appeal.   

HOME EDUCATION TIPS: Staying engaged and learning under lockdown ‘schooling’

HOME EDUCATION TIPS: Staying engaged and learning under lockdown ‘schooling’
Parents around the country are rightly anxious about their newly added responsibilities around homeschooling. And as the novelty wears off and we start the summer term, Murray Morrison, founder of learning software, Tassomai, has a few tips to keep things going for the long haul.

Top tips for schooling and educating at home:

The first thing to acknowledge is that you’re not their teacher. So it’s OK not to try to be their teacher this term: parents have plenty on their plate and they must keep their own priorities. Whatever you do, don’t be made to feel guilty by the work you’re seeing on social media from mythical super-mums and dads. Nevertheless, there are a few principles worth bearing in mind that can get you and your children through the coming months.

Use what the school give you, but make it part of the bigger picture

You will likely have been given an outline of the curriculum to cover, and a few worksheets. They’ll likely be fairly thin, so it would be easy to blast through them all just to keep your kids busy… Instead, try to make them last and instead lower your expectations as to how much time will be spent on actual schoolwork each day.

Rather than fill the days with “work” as it might be done in school, encourage your children to do some independent work around what they had to cover today – for older children, that might be reading around the material on Wikipedia, for younger children, drawing or craft projects that relate to the work they did.

Keep the lion’s share of the day for activities that will be mentally stimulating and ‘wholesome’ but feel like a treat – you’re far likelier to keep things going this way.

Don’t worry about missing bits or falling behind

Everything will be covered again when your child goes back to school, so don’t wake up in the night worrying about the odd missed bit. But remember that, when schools do resume, everything will be compressed – the revision of last year’s work, the teaching of the missed term’s curriculum and, consequently, all next year’s work too.

So while nothing will be missed, your child will manage next year far better if they have developed the skills to handle what will be the strangest 18 months in modern education.

Look back over the last year’s learning

Where you can support your child in getting ready for what comes next is to get them organised. Over the next few months, if they can look through everything they have done since September 2019 and consolidate their knowledge, they will have a major advantage next year.

Knowledge consolidation is an art – and it can be made into artistic exercises if, for example they write their own knowledge organisers or mind maps; anything you can do to support regular retrieval practice too – flashcards and quizzes can be made manually, or software like mine is ideal for keeping everything fresh in mind.

Build the skills that will help them next year

There’s one area where parents working with their children at home can do better than any school in their setting – and that is in the development of core learning skills. The fundamentals in this area are things like sustained concentration – which can be nurtured with activities like gardening, painting, knitting, puzzles or model-making. Beyond these, number puzzles, logic puzzles and crosswords can be superb for building facility with numbers, structured thinking, memory and vocabulary-building.

Think of this time not as one to spend replacing their school education with something similar – instead approach it as a time to get them as fit as possible for a disruptive year to follow. The given curriculum can form the backbone of their routine, but fill it with productive activities that allow you to live your own life too.

If, at the end of this, your child has a strong understanding of what was taught this year, and is happy and mentally prepared to learn what comes next, you will have done an amazing job.

Murray Morrison is a leading education and learning expert. He is the founder of online learning programme www.Tassomai.com

Murray Morrison is a leading education and learning expert. He is the founder of online learning programme www.Tassomai.com

FREE SUPPORT FOR YORKSHIRE FAMILIES: Skill-sharing, money-saving tips, home hacks and activities – Join our #YFams Community

FREE SUPPORT FOR YORKSHIRE FAMILIES: Skill-sharing, money-saving tips, home hacks and activities – Join our #YFams Community

Skill share, find community support, make friends, promote a cause, share ideas/tips and things to do in our new Yorkshire Families group #YFams. 

Yorkshire Families has set up an online community group to help everyone in Yorkshire to access support, network and most of all to help everyone to make the most out of God’s Own County. 

Here’s what we posted in the Yorkshire Families #YFams group about why we launched sooner than planned… 

Yorkshire Families logo
Yorkshire Families logo

SUPPORT FOR EVERYONE IN OUR COMMUNITIES, PLEASE ADD YOUR FRIENDS: We want to represent and support ALL families (people) in Yorkshire and beyond… we were working on a huge site revamp BUT as time is of the essence and help is needed NOW we have launched our facebook group early where we will be sharing posts on what to do with your family// reducing isolation  // food & essentials sharing (where allowed) and community support // skill sharing // fun and free activities // Keeping active as a family // Money saving tips // Local Neighbourhood communities // Support for local businesses // Campaigns // Learning for all // HELP FOR ALL IN OUR COMMUNITY AS THE SITUATION EVOLVES SO WILL WE… TOGETHER XXX

“A crisis reveals a community” and it can help to create one too…  

We are all one big Yorkshire Family that supports each other regardless of our individual backgrounds or circumstances. We want to create a place where we can enable everyone to get active in their community, support one another and find things to do and places to go/explore/discover. 

We also want to support local charities, organisations, community groups and businesses to shine a light on all of the incredible things that are happening in our area and how to access them. 

There is no judgement just assistance where possible in this peer-to-peer group. Originally it was going to be a food bank finder, community sharing as well as days out and activites hub. But at the moment it is hopefully a vital resource to help each other by lending a hand (digitally), sharing ideas of things to do in lockdown and signposting useful information.