The first international Lionheart Challenge final

26 Sep 2019

In September, four teams from schools across the UK and Ireland travelled to London to take part in the first-ever international schools’ event held at King’s Place. For some of the students, it was their first time in London or England.

The Lionheart Challenge is a business, enterprise and citizenship programme designed for school pupils to nurture them as future business leaders, responsible citizens and enterprising employees. The Programmes have been acclaimed nationally, and involve pupils in using high-level business materials and working directly with business professionals.

Hammerson has supported Lionheart for several years. Financed by business plans, shopping centre management teams select a local school, often from a deprived area, to take part in the Challenge. The Challenge is delivered to a whole year group, ensuring no one misses out on the opportunity to develop key professional skills. This year Lionheart events took place in schools local to Bullring, Dundrum Town Centre, Ilac Centre and Silverburn Shopping Centre.

Each finalist team at the final had already won their event and travelled to King’s Place to represent their school in the competitive England, Ireland, and Scotland derby. On the day, each team randomly selected a different citizenship group and was tasked with developing a community project that will support the demographic in their community. The proposed projects ranged from youth groups to de-stigmatise teenage pregnancy in Dublin to a community hub to bridge young and old generations. Each project was designed to be realistically implementable, with the teams creating a business plan, creating a financial proposal and researching possible sponsors.

The teams were kindly supported by a number of Hammerson colleagues. Representatives from the team’s local shopping centre, Roseannah Playle, Deborah Smith, Jennifer Ennis and David Pierotti acted as business advisors, imparting advice from their professional experience. Meanwhile, Melissa Flight, Hamish Wilson, James Rogers, Louise Ellison and Fiona Campbell-Roberts volunteered as judges. The teams were scored on a range of criteria, including the project concept, financial literacy, and presentation and teamwork skills.

The judges were genuinely impressed by each school’s pitch but there has to be one champion. The accolade for the first Lionheart Schools Champion was awarded to St Paul’s High School from Pollock, Glasgow for their project to counter period poverty in their community.

It was a truly uplifting day for all the students and volunteers. The work achieved by the students was inspiring and showed real knowledge and care for some sensitive social issues within their community. The speeches given by the students were truly touching, demonstrating their appreciation for the opportunity to take part in the final in London.