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Gateshead School children grow all the way in Newcastle Building Society Boardroom Charity Challenge

The seeds of an idea dreamt up by children from a Gateshead primary school has come into full bloom to win them the top prize in Newcastle Building Society's third annual Boardroom Charity Challenge.

The team from Brighton Avenue Primary from Gateshead beat rivals from 13 other North East schools to come out on top in the competition, which challenged the nine and ten year-old participants to develop business ideas that focus on benefiting their local community while also making a profit.

Eight teams won through to the final of the competition and got the chance to present their creative fundraising ideas to a panel of senior business figures in the Society's boardroom.

And after an intense day of competition, the Brighton Avenue team came out on top due to the far-reaching impact their the business idea would have on their local community, with rivals from Hexham Middle School and Whickham Front Street Primary School being named as the competitions' runners-up.

The pupils will now approach a local old people's home to ask them to help plant the seeds and tend to the garden, thus not only integrating the youngsters with older members of the community and learning greater interpersonal skills, but also benefitting older people that may not ordinarily have the opportunity to engage in the community in this way.

And the Brighton Avenue pupils don't plan to stop there, with other activities planned to supplement this fundraising, such as a fun run.

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.

Jim Willens, chief executive at Newcastle Building Society, who was part of the judging panel for the final, says: "This is the third year that we've run the Boardroom Charity Challenge and the standard of the entries that we get keeps getting better and better, making assessing everyone's work an extremely difficult task.

"The judges were all hugely impressed with the work done by all our finalists, but it was the community engagement element of the Brighton Avenue pupils' presentation that won our hearts and minds.

"The Veg Veterans showed entrepreneurial skills far beyond their age and delivered a strong interactive presentation, and the £1,000 first prize that they've won will give them the resources to make their ideas a reality to the benefit of both the charity they're supporting and the community in which they live."