Children North East has cancelled the event held every year on Sandhaven Beach, South Shields, due to social distancing rules and is launching a free virtual event instead.
The competition – which saw Beacon Hill Primary School in Cramlington among the winners – is usually restricted to schools but this year the charity is opening it up to all of the region’s children.
Catriona Taylor, head of fundraising and communications, said: “Our Sandcastle Challenge is such a popular event, we thought it would be a lovely idea to involve children in some sort of summer project on the day it was due to have been held, which is Friday, July 3.
“So we’re asking children – whether they’re at home or back at school – to come up with something seaside-themed using exercise, nature or craft and to send a photograph or video of what they’ve created to us.
“They can also share their achievements on social media using #SandcastlesAtHome. We’d love it if people would like to fundraise as part of the Challenge, but they really don’t have to, it can be just for fun. Our main aim is to see as many children as possible joining in and having a good time.”
Leigh Elliot, Children North East’s interim chief executive, said: “Our annual Sandcastle Challenge is the highlight of our calendar each year and this is the first time in a quarter of a century we’ve had to cancel it, which is really sad as hundreds of school children look forward to the event, as do their teachers and the many businesses, including our main sponsor, Vistry Partnerships North East (formerly Galliford Try), who so loyally support us.
“However, we hope that on July 3, schools and families around the region will enjoy taking part in our remote Sandcastle Challenge, at home or in the classroom.
“Next year we’ll be celebrating our charity’s 130th anniversary when we hope to be back on the beach for our best Sandcastle Challenge yet!”
For more information about #SandcastlesAtHome visit www.children-ne.org.uk