As the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact thousands of people’s lives over the festive period, this Gosforth teen wanted to do something to help.

From the age of six, Leo Bellwood has always been an avid coder. But now he is using his skills to help struggling families and support people’s mental health.

Over the past few months, Leo has been working hard in between homework and school to create his very own Advent Calendar app.

The thoughtful 13-year-old’s app provides a fun, free, accessible advent calendar for families that he hopes will bring a smile to children’s faces every day in December.

And since the coronavirus lockdown has affected many people’s mental health, Leo has decided to feature an option to donate to mental health charity, Mind, on his app.

Leo Bellwood, 13, has created his own Advent Calendar app to help struggling families and support people's mental health
Leo Bellwood, 13, has created his own Advent Calendar app to help struggling families and support people's mental health

Leo said: "It's a happy thing for people who can’t get out to buy or afford an advent calendar. It's a nice little fun alternative.

"A lot of advent calendars in the shops are too expensive for some families to afford so my app is free, a lot healthier and eco friendly ensures all children can have an advent calendar this Christmas.

"It can also help support other people as even though your Christmas is fine it's really good to support other people as well by donating to Mind through my app.

"I came up with the idea of using it to fundraise for Mind because lots of people have been on their own during lockdown and are struggling with their mental health."

Leo’s Advent Calendar app includes child-friendly animations and games for each day of advent.

Leo Bellwood, 13, has created his own Advent Calendar app to help struggling families and support people's mental health
Leo Bellwood, 13, has created his own Advent Calendar app to help struggling families and support people's mental health

And his mum, Steph, is so proud of what her son has accomplished.

She said: "He's always been one of these kids who just takes to a computer. It just seems to know what he's doing so he's always been playing around on the computer and not playing games but trying to make things.

"I'm really proud of him. I'm so proud that he's done it, but also that he still stuck at it and how he chose mind as his charity to donate to."

Leo’s Advent Calendar app is available to download for all Android devices, computers and tablets on Google Play Store by following this link: tiny.cc/advent2020