Project wins over hearts and wallets

27th January 2012 at 00:00
Pupils at St Joseph's Primary managed to turn pound;1 into pound;9,500 in just four weeks, winning first place in the WildHearts Micro-Tyco enterprise challenge. Jean McLeish reports

The pupils at St Joseph's Primary in Aberdeen have achieved remarkable success in a national fundraising competition. Sitting on beanbags in the school's quiet room, they are bursting to reveal the winning strategies that helped them raise pound;9,500 in just four weeks.

Each team gets pound;1 at the start of WildHearts Micro-Tyco Challenge and the task is to see how much they can make it grow over a month. Children at St Joseph's were the top fundraising educational establishment in Scotland and second in the competition overall, which included large businesses (the winner was international accountancy firm Deloitte, which raised over pound;19,000).

Third overall was Mossneuk Primary in East Kilbride, where some pupils wore pyjamas to school to kick off events that raised pound;3,774.

A total of 550 teams from schools, colleges, universities and businesses were given pound;1 in November last year, and together they turned pound;550 into over pound;90,000.

WildHearts will use the money to give micro-loans to people in some of the world's poorest countries to develop businesses. The organisation's founder and Micro-Tyco creator, Mick Jackson, launched the pilot challenge just a year ago with 64 teams who raised pound;13,000.

"One of Micro-Tyco's key goals is to bring our society together and collectively raise the bar of what's possible," says Mr Jackson. "The astounding results delivered by Deloitte, St Joseph's and Mossneuk Primary are an inspiration to us all."

St Joseph's began selling vouchers entitling buyers to everything from dog walking to having the school choir perform carols at the office party. "Some people raked the leaves, some people cleaned the house and cleaned the cars, some people walked the dog for a week, some people tidied their bedroom," says Peter Lacaze, 10, from P6.

"You start off with something which is your seed capital, and then it keeps growing and growing and you have to put effort into making your seed capital grow. Then you give bits out, so that people can do little jobs and little jobs will raise more money," he explains.

Eight-year-old Jordan Lynch's group made bespoke T-shirts, Max Nicolson, 8, made and sold soup, Sebastian Barclay, 10, staged a concert with an audience of 90 people and Grace Carolan, 11, helped run a book sale at another local school.

The children's winning formula was making presentations to local businesses to bring them on board.

"A few of us from different classes went to some businesses and did corporate matching. That's saying, `If we make this amount of money, can you give us the same amount of money that we've made?'" explains Hayley Nelson, 9. "One of the businesses gave us pound;1,500; another one gave us pound;3,000," says Hayley.

Teacher Sonia Mills says businesses were right behind them: "They would say to us, `Go up the road to Steve and tell him I sent you and tell him I already gave you this.'"

Children used every strategy they could - even cleaning the office for a company that let them use its photocopier for fliers.

Learning was at the heart of the venture, with enterprise, presentation and communication skills at the core: We got our maths in, our drama in it - it was completely cross-curricular," says P6 teacher Mrs Mills.

Children were also having fun, which was infectious, she says: "You saw kids so fired up and when you see that, you think, `Well I have to go with this, because they're so excited.'"

Headteacher Catherine Tominey is delighted: "Not only have our pupils gained valuable skills and experience, but they have also shown that young people are capable of being altruistic - being selfless rather than selfish. I am very proud of them and know they will make excellent citizens in the community."

To register for Micro-Tyco 2012, go to


East Kilbride is also celebrating its success in the Micro-Tyco Challenge.

Mossneuk Primary was thrilled to come third in the competition by raising pound;3,744, with St Andrew's and St Bride's High (Micro-Tyco founder Mick Jackson's old school) close behind in fifth place with pound;3,163.

The children at Mossneuk carried out the challenge as part of their class topic for the term, says acting depute head Craig Connon. "So there was communication, teamwork and recognising leadership and different skills within themselves - what they were good at and how they could improve and learn from each other.

"It fits perfectly with Curriculum for Excellence, with enterprising attitudes and enterprising skills all the way through."

The challenge began, he said, with a P56 class and then the whole school became involved in events such as family fun activities and a ragbag collection.

"We did lots of things and started with a dress-as-you-please day, when the children came in their pyjamas and that gave us about pound;400 or pound;500, which we could then start investing in further events."

The secondary school fielded 42 teams from first and second year. Sixth- years ran the event and pupils were divided into groups with responsibility for different sectors, such as banking, advertising, media, logistics and business links.

A community health and fitness event was held to celebrate the end of the challenge with activities including boxing, Zumba, Pilates, table tennis and football.

"The pupils greatly benefited from this experience, learning to work as part of a team, and they were inspired to break out of their limited self- perceptions and comfort zones," says music and RMCE teacher Pauline Friel.

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