Treasury trip for young entrepreneurs

Young business stars from a Cumbrian school have been to the Treasury to pick up an prize for their entrepreneurship.

Keswick School pupils scooped the Social Enterprise award at the Giving Nation Social Action Awards ceremony for their business idea of making t-shirts and bracelets to sell in local shops.

Anna Shenton, Anna Bergerud, Anna Hollinshead and Xanthe Sparke, who are all in year nine, collected their award from Nick Hurd MP, Minister for Civil Society, in London on Thursday (17 October).

The group’s business idea has pulled in hundreds of pounds of profits, some of which has been reinvested in the social enterprise and some donated to the Eden Valley Hospice.

Seven schools from across the country attended the ceremony in Whitehall to be presented with awards and a £500 prize to donate to a charity of their choice.

The Giving Nation Challenge is a social enterprise programme run with secondary schools in Cumbria in partnership between Cumbria County Council and the Citizenship Foundation.

As part of the Giving Nation Challenge, students work to identify an issue within their community and then set up a social enterprise project to meet that need. Each secondary school that signs up for the challenge is able to access a grant from the Citizenship Foundation.

The grant is used as start up capital to enable students to go head to head to get their business ideas off the ground as the challenge is run internally within each school.

Each school that takes part in the challenge then sends a winning team to represent their school in the Cumbria final where they present their ideas to a panel of judges to compete for a regional trophy and be entered into the national Giving Nation Social Action Awards.

Anna Hollinshead said: “When we entered the Treasury it was a real rush of excitement being in such an important building and I couldn’t believe we were there and had been selected out of all the schools that entered the competition.”

Xanthe Sparke said: “I felt nervous because we were going to present our work on enterprise to other teachers, schools and important people but it was a big privilege to be in a place where big events in history had occurred. 

“We were just really pleased that all our hard work paid off.”

Liz Swainson, Head of Citizenship at Keswick School, said: “The award means a great deal to the school, especially as it was the first time we had entered the competition, and from the start the four girls said that losing was not an option.

“I was so proud and excited for them to be able to have such a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

Councillor Anne Burns, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for Children’s Services, said: “To win a prestigious national award is a fantastic achievement and to collect it at the heart of Government must have been tremendously exciting.

“The enterprise idea the Keswick pupils came up with was an excellent initiative and I’m delighted their achievements have been recognised."