TEAMS of children from across the North-East are putting their heads together to come up with creative fundraising ideas to help them win their way into the boardroom of one of the region’s best known businesses.

Year Five pupils from 14 schools as far apart as Alnwick and Durham are set to take part in Newcastle Building Society’s third annual Boardroom Charity Challenge.

The competition challenges the nine and ten year-old participants to develop business ideas that focus on benefiting their local community while also making a profit.

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A shortlist of entries compiled by an initial judging panel will go forward to the competition’s final stages, where they will give presentations to a panel of business figures in the Society’s boardroom.

The team from Darlington’s Heathfield Primary School won last year’s Challenge with their ideas for a family fun day in the town’s South Park in support of the Butterwick Hospice.

The Heathfield team used the competition’s £500 first prize to then set up the event, which in turn raised over £3,000 for the Hospice.

The prize for the overall Challenge winner this year has been doubled to a £1,000 donation towards putting their ideas into practice, with all the other participants receiving runner up awards.

The Boardroom Charity Challenge is a continuation of an ongoing financial education programme developed by the Newcastle which, over the last four years, has helped more than 1,000 children in its heartland area learn more about managing money and becoming more financially independent.

It forms part of a six-week long curriculum based learning package that teaches core numeracy and literacy skills, and is an extension of a wider NBS ‘Cornerstone of the Community’ campaign through which individual branches provide direct support to organisations and good causes in their local areas.

Natalie Falkous, head of corporate social responsibility at Newcastle Building Society, who will be part of the boardroom judging panel, said: “The information we’re able to share through this scheme is designed to help young people prepare for looking after their own finances, which is a topic that we believe you can’t start learning about early enough, and it also ties in with the support we look to give to people and organisations within the communities in which we work.

“Our 2013 winners’ fundraising success showed just what can be done with some creative ideas and the resources needed to put them into action, and with the top prize doubled this time round, the teams have the opportunity to achieve even more for their chosen good causes.”