After its absence last year, the Jesmond Festival is back for a sixteenth time, with something for everyone.

Comprising more than 50 events and competitions – both online and in person – across the whole of May, there’s no shortage of ways to get involved.

If you’re looking to shift a few pounds after lockdown, there are plenty of fitness activities to enjoy. There’s walking, wellbeing and (if you want to take things up a notch) you can take on Craig’s Fitness Challenge at Jesmond Pool all day every day throughout the Festival.

In keeping with social distancing, the daily challenge will be posted on Jesmond Pool’s Facebook page. Craig explains: “For Jesmond Festival this year I’ll be setting a challenge for all of May. All it consists of is “One minute a day, every day in May”, with the challenges “getting harder every week”.

However, if you prefer something a little more sedate, you can relax with food and music. Continuing the trend at the Jesmond Festival of dipping into different cultures, on Monday you can enjoy looking at some of the exciting work and listen to performances by international students from INTO Newcastle University. As well as that, kicking the festival off, there will an opening night DJ set from Scott of Jesmond Pool between 7pm and 9pm on Saturday (probably the biggest party all year… literally!).

On the same day – and on 15 May – you can indulge at the Jesmond Food Market, which makes a welcome return following the pandemic. Armstrong Bridge is the place to go both for local produce and to try something a little more exotic.

And the Jesmond Festival is continuing its long-established focus on helping the environment. There will be several events over the course of the next few weeks highlighting the impact of the climate emergency on the local area, including a talk on the health of the Tyne – that will be delivered by Jenny Elliott, Volunteer Coordinator of the Tyne Rivers Trust – and “The Climate Emergency: Action Points in Jesmond”. Tony Waterston will talk on Thursday 6th May about what we can be doing in Jesmond and will also look at the bigger picture, discussing the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill – it effectively demands the government take responsibility for their role in tackling climate change and acknowledge the scale of the challenge.

Equally, if you don’t want to wait that long for a political discussion, you can attend online local election hustings. That’s on Tuesday, two days before voters go to the polls on Thursday. Hosted by JesmondLocal, the Question Time-style event will involve candidates from both North and South Jesmond, covering a wide range of local issues and offering you the chance to submit your own questions too.

To see the full schedule and find out how to sign up for events, simply go to the Jesmond Festival website www.jesmondcommunityfestival.co.uk or Facebook www.facebook.com/jesmondfestival .