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Cumbria MPs quizzed by Bright Stars primary schools

Almost 50 primary schools taking part in the 2021 Bright Stars challenge programme quizzed Cumbria’s MPs who shared their experience and tips about how to lead campaigns to change something the children care about.

The live online Q&A sessions between the six MPs and schools in their constituencies produced a huge variety of questions and answers about how they support their communities and lead change.  Subjects ranged from how to start a campaign and make it successful, the best ways to work as a team, changing people’s mindsets and involving them in campaigns, to working with Boris Johnson, creating publicity, and an MP’s favourite soup!

Bright Stars partners primary schools with local companies to help pupils set up and run their own mini businesses, encouraging leadership and a culture of aspiration and enterprise.   For Bright Stars 2021 the focus has shifted from making a profit – to making a difference by creating digital marketing campaigns to champion the worthwhile causes chosen by the children. 

The innovative 8-week Bright Stars programme is delivered by the Centre for Leadership Performance in collaboration with businesses and schools and finishes on Monday 28th  June. 

Bright Stars is funded by local businesses passionate about nurturing the leaders of the future and getting kids excited about the world of business.   For 2021 a record 49 schools are involved with extra support from BAE Systems and Sellafield to encourage supply chain companies to join the programme, and from Cumbria Community Foundation to enable more charities to partner with schools.

Cumbria’s six MPs are supporting the programme and will stay in contact with children as they build their campaigns: Copeland MP Trudy Harrison, Barrow and Furness MP Simon Fell, Workington MP Mark Jenkinson, Carlisle MP John Stevenson, Penrith & The Border MP Neil Hudson and Westmorland & Lonsdale MP Tim Farron.

CfLP Executive Director Sarah Glass explains: “We are hugely grateful to Cumbrian businesses and our local MPs for supporting Bright Stars and enabling children to gain the full benefits of this fantastic opportunity.  CfLP believes we can all step up and show leadership, and Bright Stars empowers children as young as 5 with the opportunity to make a difference and develop their leadership skills, confidence and self-belief.

Bright Stars offers young people the opportunity to be inspired and see that their actions will be recognised and their voices will be heard.  Pupils are exposed to positive role models from the world of business and the programme encourages leadership, building confidence as they showcase hidden talents and develop new skills.

Now in its ninth year, the programme enables children to learn through experience 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.

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.

To ensure the COVID-safety of everyone taking part, digital contact has replaced face-to-face interaction between children and their business mentors, and also reflects changes in the ways businesses are operating with more remote working and online collaboration.

CfLP is celebrating ten years working with young people and businesses across Cumbria to develop and encourage leadership.  Executive Director Sarah Glass adds: “We demonstrate through a huge variety of initiatives and programmes that we can all show leadership, and that better leadership leads to better lives.  It can start at primary school and is part of a lifelong journey through further education and university to the workplace and the boardroom.”  

You can watch highlights from all the MP Q & A’s on this page.

Q &A Highlights

Neil Hudson, MP for Penrith and The Borders
Simon Fell, MP for Barrow and Furness
John Stevenson, MP for Carlisle
Mark Jenkinson, MP for Workington
Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale
Trudy Harrison, MP for Copeland