A NORTH East financial education programme has raised £4,800 for schools in the North East, and is now expanding into new areas.
Last year, Northern Rock, now part of Virgin Money, launched Make £5 Grow in partnership with the Newcastle Education Business Partnership (NEBP).
The scheme sees staff from across the bank trained to volunteer in local schools as Ambassadors for Work.
This year, 15 schools took part in the second year of the scheme, in which a £5 start-up loan per participating child is donated by the bank for mini-businesses, devised and run by the youngsters in an effort to turn a profit.
All proceeds are kept by the schools and their amazing success has now been celebrated at an event at Newcastle United Football Club.
Three hundred and 50 children aged from nine to 11 showed off the goods they had made before being treated to entertainment from stilt-walkers and a balloonist.
They were also shown a video of themselves taking part in Make £5 Grow and presented with certificates and goodie bags, before ending their day by enjoying a buffet and disco.
Gosforth Central Middle School in Newcastle was among those taking part and its Proper popcorn, bunting and cookies enterprise saw it make a profit of £932.
Teacher Richard Swan, of Falla Park Community Primary School in Gateshead, whose students sold hand-made worry dolls and gingerbread men with their loan, said: “The children have really enjoyed taking part in the programme, which encourages good teamwork.
“They came up with some great ideas and had lots of fun doing it.
“The group learnt a lot and made a 200% profit so we are hoping more of our pupils can take part next year.”
Marie Davies, a teacher at St Joseph’s Junior School in Birtley, said: “We used the scheme as a personal, social and health education (PSHE) topic and it was a great team-building activity.
“The children picked up entrepreneurial and mathematical skills and it really brought them together.”
The programme has now launched for the first time in the North West region, and the bank hopes it may even expand further across the country.
The company’s chief executive Jayne-Anne Gadhia said: “Virgin Money is delighted to support the Make £5 Grow initiative.
“Our aim is to build a bank which makes everyone better off, so we’re thrilled that our £5 loans have helped make 16 local schools better off to the tune of £4,800, and in the process encouraged some young entrepreneurs of the future.”