Former Athlete, Health & Wellness Consultant and Mindset Coach, Nicola Lyddon, joins the BRIT family
We are delighted that Nicola has joined our BRIT Ambassador family and is championing the annual BRIT Challenge to support and improve young adult and student mental health and fitness throughout the UK.
Nicola is a former Track and Field athlete who competed at regional, national and international level, specialising in the 400m, 800m and cross country events. In addition to being an innovative and inspiring leader, and a highly successful teacher and sports professional, Nicola is a Health and Wellness Consultant and Mindset Coach. She is a Mental Health Advocate and seeks to make a difference in the lives of young people through the power of sport and wellbeing. Nicola’s vision is to empower, engage, inspire and rejuvenate the lives of others. She is a recipient of The Daily Telegraph School Sports Teacher of the Year. Nicola has been Head of Year, and PE Teacher, at the Winston Churchill School since 2019. Since 2009, Nicola has volunteered as a Coach at UK Athletics where she specialises in Sprint and Middle Distance (400m and 800m).
“As a teacher for over twenty years, through my work with the Youth Sport Trust, and my experience as a former athlete and a coach with UK Athletics, I know there is a worrying increase in the number of young adults experiencing mental health challenges, therefore maintaining good physical and mental health is so important for student wellbeing. Through my work as a teacher, I am acutely aware of the need for mental health promotion and prevention interventions. It is important for everyone to know that no matter the experience, there is always hope for a positive outcome.
The pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on particular groups in society; those on a low income, people with an existing mental health condition; children and young adults and people from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities. The MIND charity reported that one in four young people were unable to access the mental health support they needed during the 2020 lockdown and therefore it is vital we do all we can to ensure they receive support now, to look after their wellbeing, in order to avoid long-term effects on their mental health.
The British Inspiration Trust (BRIT) Vision is to support young adult and student mental health throughout the UK and resonates with me both personally and professionally. I applaud BRIT for designing the annual BRIT Challenge to be a UK-wide feelgood February fundraiser that enables students and young adults of all abilities to take part wherever they are (at home or on campus); by hand-cycling, cycling, wheelchair pushing, swimming, walking, jogging, running, rowing or paddling (canoeing, kayaking or paddle-boarding).
I am delighted to be joining the BRIT Ambassador family and will do all I can to encourage fellow current and retired Olympians, Paralympians and elite athletes to join me as BRIT Ambassadors, promote the BRIT Challenge at universities and colleges of their choice, destigmatise mental health and champion equality, diversity and inclusion. I would be thrilled to support and encourage students and staff at colleges and schools throughout the UK."
Former Athlete, Health & Wellness Consultant and Mindset Coach
Nicola was educated at Richmond Upon Thames College and then studied for her Bachelor of Science degree in Sports and Exercise Science at Cardiff Metropolitan University. During her semester/summer break from university, Nicola worked at The London Borough of Hounslow and led a scheme to enable children and young people with disabilities to be able to attend mainstream leisure activities such as youth clubs, sports clubs and uniformed groups, She also coordinated a variety of tailored exciting activities for children and young people with severe/profound and multiple disabilities.
Nicola then went on to study for her Master of Science degree in Psychology at Brunel University, London, where she also completed her Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in Physical Education Teaching (Secondary).
Between 2001 and 2003, Nicola was Head of Girls Physical Education and School Sport at St Joseph’s Catholic School in Berkshire, and then, between 2003 and 2019, worked at Hampshire County Council where she was Schools Sport Partnership Manager/PE Teacher at Wavell School for six years, before fulfilling the role of Curriculum Leader / Director of PE & School Sport at Cove School.
Nicola supported the Youth Sport Trust, between 2006 and 2012, as the Girls Active Regional Development Manager which included National Project Delivery. She supported schools in their provision of girls’ PE across the UK and contributed to articles for the Daily Telegraph, Guardian on Girls Engagement in Sport, Changing face of Girls PE in the UK and Getting Girls Active. Nicola also worked with Dame Kelly Holmes to enhance practices/provision and increase engagement for girls in school sport and PE.
Nicola has supported the Make-A-Wish charity as a Speaker since 2017.
You can follow Nicola on Instagram.