Dozens of Gateshead schoolchildren are set to show off their technical skills, fundraising ideas and creativity as they aim for the top spot in a prestigious financial education competition.

Year Five pupils from eight city schools are taking part in the eighth annual Newcastle Building Society Boardroom Charity Challenge, which asks its young participants to develop event ideas that will both benefit their local community and make a profit for a chosen good cause.

The focus of this year’s Challenge, which is being held in conjunction with Gateshead Council, is for the teams to demonstrate both financial capability and the application of technology in creating their event.

Each school is holding its own internal competition, with the top team from each one presenting their ideas to a panel of judges at the Challenge final, which is being held on Friday 12 July at Europe’s first dedicated centre for emerging technology – PROTO – in Gateshead’s Baltic Quarter.

The teams’ presentations will provide a detailed explanation of how they would invest £500 to create an event, the profits of which would be donated to a charity of their choice.  The winning team will receive the money they need to make their event happen, as well as a further £500 for their school.

Each school is working with teams of colleagues from Newcastle Building Society on the development of their ideas and presentations. Gateshead College are on hand to help host teams for a range of fun financial education-related activities on the day of the final.

The eight Gateshead schools taking part in this year’s Boardroom Charity Challenge are Falla Park, Harlow Green and Larkspur Community Primary Schools, St Mary’s RC Primary School, Portobello Primary School, Oakfield Junior School, St Marys and St Thomas Aquinas Catholic Primary School, and St Philip Neri RC Primary School.

Andrew Haigh, chief executive at Newcastle Building Society, says: “The way in which we manage our personal finances is evolving rapidly, but the need to know how to look after your money has not changed. We’re continuing to make financial education a priority to ensure we can share our knowledge and experience with as many young people as possible.

“This year’s Challenge is very firmly focused on encouraging our Gateshead school children to think about the effective use of technology, whether through our finalists using a range of digital media in their presentations, using digital devices to explain their plans to the judges or incorporating technologies like online donations and ticket sales into their event plans.”

The Boardroom Charity Challenge is an ongoing financial education programme developed by Newcastle Building Society which aims to help young people learn about becoming more financially independent.

More than 2,500 young people from schools right across the region have so far taken part in the Challenge, which forms part of a six-week long curriculum based learning package that teaches core numeracy and literacy skills, enables pupils to learn more about how to manage money and helps them develop their IT and presentation skills.

The Boardroom Charity Challenge is an extension of the Society’s wider financial education commitment, which sees it providing free financial information events in venues across the North East to those who want to learn more about how to manage their money.

Councillor Catherine Donovan, deputy leader of Gateshead Council, said: “It’s wonderful to see eight of our primary schools taking part in this year’s Newcastle Building Society’s Charity Boardroom Challenge, and so our thanks go to them for staging this exclusively in Gateshead this year.

“Financial Education is vitally important for children of all ages and initiatives like this just prove that financial learning can be fun and interactive and not solely confined to the classroom.

“I very much hope that these year five children across all eight schools can take the lessons learned over these past 12 weeks and use them to make sensible financial decisions both now as a child and later in life as they grow into adults

“I know there has to be a winning school, but to me they’re all winners and it would be great if we could see the Charity Boardroom Challenge back in Gateshead schools again soon”

Andrew Haigh concluded: “The winning ideas in previous years have helped to raise many thousands of pounds for a range of North East charities and good causes, and we’re excited to find out what sort of ideas this year’s competitors will be putting forward in what is a truly inspirational venue.”