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Rainbird Kids Fly To The Top In Newcastle Building Society’s Boardroom Charity Challenge

Ideas put through by Newcastle schoolchildren for a festival of fundraising have helped them take top spot in a region-wide competition

Rainbird Primary School has been named as the winners of the seventh annual Newcastle Building Society Boardroom Charity Challenge, a financial education initiative which asks its young participants to develop business ideas that will both benefit their local community and also make a profit for a chosen good cause.

The six-strong team of Year Five pupils presented their ideas for raising money for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) in the Society’s boardroom at the final of the event to a judging panel which included record-breaking Paralympian Steven Miller, award-winning BBC journalist Philippa Goymer and Newcastle Building Society chief executive Andrew Haigh, and customer director, Stuart Miller.

After overcoming rivals from seven other North East schools to take the competition’s £1,000 first prize, Rainbird Primary School is now starting to put plans in place to hold its festival of fundraising, which will include a wide range of carefully-planned events and activities, around Christmas time.

The Rainbird children chose to support CHUF, which aims to make life better for children and young people who are born with or who develop heart conditions, in recognition of the help that the charity gave to the little sister of one of their schoolmates.

The team has now repeated its boardroom presentation at an assembly in front of the whole school to help get everyone involved with the project.

Teacher Kimberley Wade says: “The children worked incredibly hard to develop their fundraising ideas, planning precisely how much they would raise from each part of the event, working out how they would get people to come along and identifying what CHUF would be able to do with the money.

“They were quite nervous before they went into the boardroom, but as soon as they went through the door, all the nerves disappeared and they did a fantastic presentation without needing to refer to their notes even once.

“It was wonderful to see all their hard work paying off and we were over the moon to hear our school’s name called out at the end of the day.

“We’re all extremely proud of everything the team has achieved and the whole school’s excited about the fundraising festival that’s now going to happen at the end of the year.

“Taking part in the Challenge has really helped our team members improve their listening, presenting and communications skills, and has given them opportunities that they’ve never had before, as well as inspiration about the sort of jobs they might one day be able to do.”

Over the last seven years, more than 2,000 young people have taken part in the Boardroom Charity Challenge, which is an ongoing financial education programme developed by Newcastle Building Society which aims to help young people learn about becoming more financially independent.

It forms part of a six-week long curriculum based learning package that teaches core numeracy and literacy skills, enables pupils to learn more about how to manage money and helps them develop their IT and presentation skills.

The Boardroom Charity Challenge is an extension of the Society’s wider financial education commitment, which sees it providing free seminars across the region to those who want to learn more about how to manage their money.

Andrew Haigh, chief executive at Newcastle Building Society, adds: “Every year, the children taking part in the Challenge amaze us with their energy, creativity, determination and courage, and this year has been no different.

“The standard of the schools’ presentations was incredibly high and any of them would have been a worthy winner, but the level of detail that the Rainbird team had gone into when developing their ideas and the confident way in which they told us about what they’ll now be doing just gave them the edge.

“We believe that it’s never too early to start learning about how to manage your money, and the Boardroom Charity Challenge gives us a wonderful opportunity every year to share our expertise in this area with hundreds of eager and inquisitive young people.”