Mini Mermaids & Young Tritons

Mini Mermaids was founded in America in 2009 after its founder discovered a lack of after-school running clubs for girls at or below the poverty line. Since then the movement has grown and grown and is now being delivered in the UK.

The Jane Tomlinson Appeal has committed to delivering Mini Mermaids and its equivalent course for boys, Young Tritons, to 30 schools each in Leeds, Sheffield and Hull over the next three years. 

What is Mini Mermaids?

Mini Mermaids is a six-week discovery of movement and exposure to sport when girls are in Primary School. Throughout 12 sessions, female volunteer coaches lead small groups through fitness, nutrition and self-development. 

  • MMRC UK was established in October 2015 and aims to increase physical activity in girls aged between seven and 11 years

  • It also seeks to enhance girls' confidence and self-belief

  • This is a twice-weekly after-school club lasting six weeks

  • At the end of the 6 weeks, the girls take part in a 5km challenge where they can run, dance, hop, skip sing their way around

  • It uses an innovative blend of journal work and group discussions alongside 30/45 minutes of physical activity

  • Each programme involves approximately 10 girls and utilises two coaches who follow a curriculum that has been written with child psychologists, fitness specialists and parents

In 2016 Dr Nicola Eccles, Director of Research at CP Active Limited and Research Associate at the University of Huddersfield produced an Impact Rport on the Mini Mermaids programme. 

Mini Mermaids_1

  • Appeal Trustee Suzanne Tomlinson with a Mini Mermaids group

The research that took place between January and July 2016 clearly demonstrated that MMRC UK is a transparent and responsive programme which produces a unique experience for girls.

Download the report here

What is Young Tritons? 

Young Tritons Running Club is a six-week programme for primary school boys to inspires every boy to become emotionally and physically balanced through self-compassion, empathy, cooperation and developing a broader understanding of strength.

  • Young Tritons was developed in 2016 to try and encourage boys to express their emotions and realise that that strength comes in many different forms
  • This is a twice a week programme that lasts over 6 weeks
  • At the end of the 6 weeks, the boys take part in a 5km challenge where they are encouraged to complete it as a team with everyone working together
  • Small groups are used with volunteer male coaches
  • The programme uses discussion work, games and activities that reinforces the idea of physical, mental and emotional strength

Young Tritons


How do I get involved in Mini Mermaids and Young Tritons?

The Jane Tomlinson Appeal programmes are available to schools in Leeds, Sheffield and Hull. Schools in areas of deprivation will be given a higher priority. Delivery is dependent on capacity and resource in the area.

To get involved email 


Jane's Fundraising Challenges

  • I'm delighted to support the Leeds 10K. Jane, a Sparks vice-president herself, was a truly inspirational figure who became our biggest-ever individual fundraiser.

    Sir Matthew Pinsent CBE
    Four-time Olympic Gold Medallist

    Sir Matthew Pinsent CBE
  • I was lucky enough to call Jane a friend and like many was touched by her determination and drive to make a difference to many millions of people's lives, despite battling with her own cruel illness.

    Steve Cram OBE
    Olympic Silver Medalist

    Steve Cram OBE
  • Jane's unwavering determination, strength courage and selflessness in the face of adversity is an inspiration to each and every one of us. I feel privileged to have the opportunity to play a part in making sure that Jane's memory and legacy lives in the great work of the Appeal.

    Chrissie Wellington
    Four time World Ironman Champion

    Chrissie Wellington
  • Jane led the way on many occasions with inspirational feats that left us all in awe of her absolute determination and keen desire to help others.

    Nell McAndrew
    Jane Tomlinson Appeal Patron

    Nell McAndrew
  • It is a huge honour for me to be a patron of the Jane Tomlinson Appeal. Jane was such a very special person. Her bravery, courage and strength were a huge inspiration to me, and I am sure to so many others. She fought cancer every step with such passion and positivity.

    Paula Radcliffe MBE

    Paula Radcliffe MBE