Craig Mathieson’s Polar Academy works with ‘invisible’ children in Scotland (victims of bullying or low self-esteem) to help build them into leaders and role models to inspire others. Each year, a rigorous selection process identifies a small group which undergoes intensive training for a polar expedition. Accompanied by two students, Arran Goddard and Lauren Calley, Craig reflects on the challenges of running a charity during a pandemic, particularly when the demand for its services is increasing. As teenagers were struggling with their mental health during the Covid lockdowns, due to lack of social interactions and no access to meaningful activities, the Academy decided to expand its work and introduce new initiatives.

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