Jubilant celebrations took place recently to mark the "triumphant" end of a schools business project aimed at making a difference in communities across Cumbria.

Fifty primary schools across Cumbria took part in the Bright Stars 2021 programme, project managed by the Centre for Leadership Performance (CfLP), and two schools in Carlisle have picked up awards for their work.

In the wake the wake of the pandemic the focus of Bright Stars this year moved from ‘making a profit’ to ‘making a difference’.

With the help of companies and organisations, the young entrepreneurs set up and ran their own social enterprise businesses that dealt with a range of issues from combatting social isolation, to improving the environment, tackling litter and boosting mental wellbeing for pets.

In a virtual celebration of the eight-week long programme, attended by Penrith and Borders MP, Neil Hudson, Inglewood Community Nursery and Infant school and Carlisle College won an award for best campaign idea.

As part of the school’s project, 'Soup-er-Soups - selling soup in the community', pupils created update videos and scoured Twitter for soup recipe inspiration.

The most innovative campaign award went to Rockcliffe CofE Primary School and Oak Tree Animals' Charity for their 'Puzzles for Pets in the Pandemic' project, which was aimed at boosting the mental wellbeing of pets whose owners were returning to work.

Other schools in the area also celebrated their hard work to make a difference in their communities.

Pupils at Great Orton Primary School, Carlisle, worked with Soundwave Cumbria to create and perform their own songs to help combat loneliness among the community's older generation.

As part of their Bright Stars Primary project, pupils of Raughton Head Church of England Primary School, near Dalston, decided to boost nature in their community by litter picking and creating bee bombs.

The pupils worked alongside quantity surveyors from consultancy company, Matt McDonald, to discuss their vision and carry their project forward.

Executive Director, Sarah Glass, said: "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."

Carlisle MP John Stevenson and Penrith & The Border MP Neil Hudson keenly followed the progress of the 8-week campaign after chatting with pupils via video at the start of Bright Stars 2021, and assisted judging panels to decide the winners.

The programme is now in its ninth year and CfLP is celebrating ten years working with young people and businesses across Cumbria.

To find out more about Bright Stars, visit https://www.cforlp.org.uk/programmes/bright-stars#2021.