Bright Stars 2021

Charities across Cumbria are being asked to work with local primary schools to help them create a campaign to ‘make a difference’ as part of the Bright Stars 2021 programme which teaches young children about business.

The innovative programme is project-managed by the Centre for Leadership Performance and partners primary schools with local companies to set up and run their own businesses.   For Bright Stars 2021 the focus is shifting from making a profit – to making a difference by creating digital marketing campaigns to champion worthwhile causes chosen by the children. 

This year CfLP has also secured extra funding from Cumbria Community Foundation to allow more third sector organisations and more schools and to take part.  They are now looking for up to 20 charities to join the businesses already partnering 30 schools – bringing the total to a record 50 schools taking up the challenge.

Age UK West Cumbria has been involved with Bright Stars since 2019; Chief Executive Jane Mindar has found it to be a hugely valuable experience, and talks about the programme in a video for the CfLP.

Jane explains: “It really links incredibly well into charities.  This year’s theme of making a difference in the community embodies what we do.  We were able to give the children tangible examples of what we do out in the community, because we’re virtually invisible unless you are on the receiving end.  Hopefully, it will inspire them to do really useful and rewarding community work. 

“I think it’s really interesting to open up the eyes of children at quite a young age to different ideas and to look at different sources of careers and less traditional sort of employment.  Charities are quite an intangible kind of entity; people don’t realize what they do locally and   they also don’t understand how complex the business as a charity because we have our charitable aims but we’ve got to generate income in order to provide services which are predominantly free. 

“I think it’s really important to let younger people understand the important role of charities in society, particularly at this point in time during the pandemic where we’re being asked to do more for impoverished people who are really suffering because of the current crisis.”

Recruitment of schools and charities enabled by the CCF funding is currently under way. Any school, charity or third sector organisation interested in taking part in Bright Stars 2021 should contact,call 07843 684746/01900 824822.

Bright Stars is delivered and funded in partnership with the businesses taking part.  Sellafield and BAE Systems are sponsoring supply chain companies and getting their own staff to work with schools through Bright Stars.  Eight additional schools in South Cumbria have joined the programme thanks to BAE Systems’ involvement and support from long-term partners Oxley Developments and Orion Solutions. 

Bright Stars 2021 starts on Tuesday May 4th with a finishing date of Monday 28th June.  A celebration event to recognise the achievements of the children will be held early July before the end of the Summer Term.   CfLP will closely monitor the latest Government advice to confirm the dates remain viable.

To ensure the safety of everyone taking part within COVID-19 restrictions, the Bright Stars  format has changed for 2021.   Digital contact is replacing face-to-face interaction between children and their business mentors, and reflects changes in the ways businesses operate with remote working and more online collaboration.

Children gain the opportunity to learn about key business principles like innovation, budgeting, problem solving and delivering to deadlines, while linking with core curriculum subjects such as English, maths and design & technology. It also builds confidence as they showcase hidden talents and develop new skills.

For companies, Bright Stars creates on-going links with local primary schools, connects with young people and makes them aware of what the companies do while positively impacting  communities and providing development opportunities for staff who get involved.

CfLP Executive Director Sarah Glass explains: “The Centre for Leadership Performance and its partners are committed to programme going ahead in 2021 to deliver valuable and positive experiences for the children.  We are confident that our new arrangements and timings will safeguard pupils, teachers and partners while offering positive engagement and experiences for the children. Above all, our campaign aim of ‘making a difference’ is now perhaps more important than ever in our current situation.”