Red Nose Day with a difference

Written by: Laura Wilson | Published:
Image: Comic Relief

Funds from Comic Relief have gone to support some of the most vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic. In a year like no other, what are your school’s plans for Red Nose Day? Laura Wilson offers some flexible resources and suggestions for secondary schools

As we look ahead to this year’s Red Nose Day on Friday, March 19, it is extraordinary to cast our minds back to last March, when Sport Relief culminated in a fantastic night of television and we raised more than £40 million.

I was co-ordinating schools’ fundraising plans and the usual non-uniform days, bake sales and crazy sporting challenges continued as normal.

Just three days later, we were advised to work from home and avoid contact with others and stop non-essential travel. A week on, we entered the first nationwide lockdown. At the time, we never imagined that in 2021 we would still find ourselves in a world of social distancing, masks, remote communication and lockdowns.

However, as Red Nose Day 2021 approaches, there has never been a better time to make a difference, no matter how big or small.

At Comic Relief, we fund hundreds of amazing organisations who are working on the ground to support the most vulnerable people and communities in society, including many of those hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis.

This includes vulnerable children and young people, people who are homeless or who have been forced to flee their homes, women and families at risk of domestic abuse, and those struggling with existing or new mental health problems.

We are enormously grateful for all of the hard work that school staff have put in during this difficult year. We also know that delivering lessons is top priority during this challenging time. But if you are able, we would love your support this Red Nose Day, whether that is through fundraising or simply raising a smile.

In the words of one of our founders, Lenny Henry: “The big day might look a bit different this year, but your laughter really will change lives.”

Laughing and learning

Red Nose Day offers opportunities for fun, engaging learning. This year, we have developed a range of resources that are flexible enough for you to use with ease whether students are in school or learning from home. Visit the website for a range of free downloads, including:

  • Our Red Nose Day film for secondary schools, which tells the story of 17-year-old Courtney, who volunteers with her dad for a project funded by Comic Relief.
  • Ideas for learning activities inspired by Red Nose Day and Courtney’s story. These can be used to help teachers evidence elements of the national curriculum for relationships and sex education (RSE) and citizenship, as well as the PSHE Association programme of study.
  • Quizzes and puzzles on a Red Nose Day theme.

Remote fundraising

We have identified our top 10 ideas for taking fundraising activities online so that you and your students stay safe, have fun and still support Comic Relief if you feel able to do so.

  • Go red: Ask students to wear red for the day, get the whole class on a remote call and turn the screen red!
  • Super anything-athon: Ask students to identify their hidden skills and set themselves a supercharged sponsored challenge. Could they climb the equivalent of Snowdon using their staircase? Run a mini-marathon in the back garden? See how many keepy-uppies they can do in five minutes? Build the world’s biggest card tower? Knit a scarf in a day?
  • Calling all cake crusaders: Switch your bake sale for a cake-decorating competition. Encourage students to show off their artistic side and see who can decorate the most impressive cake on a Red Nose Day theme. Share their creative efforts on a video call and vote for the best.
  • Test your brainpower: We have all become pros at online quizzes during lockdown. Why not organise one for your class? There is a special Red Nose Day quiz for secondary schools available online to help you become an instant quizmaster.
  • Lip sync challenge: Ask students to pick their favourite song and show you their star performance.
  • Tell us a joke: Challenge students to learn a joke, test their material on their family and then perform it to the rest of the class. Who can raise the loudest laugh?
  • Show us your party piece: Can students whistle the national anthem? Do impressions? Sing like Beyoncé?
  • Sponsored silence: In a world of Zoom and constant online access, challenge your students to stay quiet for an hour or even a whole morning.
  • Put students in charge: Ask students to lead online classes to share their skills with friends. Can they play an instrument? Speak Russian? Are they fitness fanatics?
  • Gaming marathon: Suggest that students organise a gaming marathon – it is a great way for them to keep in touch, have fun and raise money at the same time

Stay safe

In the past, much of the money schools raised for Red Nose Day came in the form of cash donations. To stay Covid-safe, we recommend that you use online donation methods instead. It is easy to set up a JustGiving page and QR code (we offer help on our website). Send round your JustGiving link and QR code in advance and ask students to make a donation to take part in activities and competitions on the day. Alternatively, you could use ParentPay to collect donations.


Covid-19 may have turned our lives upside down, but with imagination and energy, events like Red Nose Day can still be fun and meaningful. If you would like further support or ideas for running fundraising activities, do get in touch. Your efforts really will make a difference to the most vulnerable in the UK and around the world during these incredibly tough times.

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