The Murray Gates

Samson's Shoes programme a hit

by Ashley Houghton

New business scheme goes down well.

Children from Town End and Bexhill primary schools tested their fledging business skills with an innovative new education programme run by the Foundation of Light.

The ‘Samson’s Shoes project’ set the youngsters the task of creating new shoes for the official Sunderland AFC mascot, Samson, using basic business principles.

Over 50 children took part in the event which is an offshoot of the Premier League Enterprise programme that aims to educate Secondary School pupils about business, using football itself and the off-pitch activities of football clubs as a model.

The ‘Samson’s Shoes’ programme was delivered to Year 6 pupils, with sessions taking place for one hour per week over six weeks.

The project culminated in a Dragon’s Den style event at the Stadium of Light, with judges from the Premier League Community Fund and partner organisation Caterpillar, as well as Samson himself.

Chris Hooker, Enterprise Coordinator at the Foundation of Light, said the event will provide a good benchmark for the kids’ move to secondary school this summer.

“We decided to create the pilot to help ease the transition from Primary to Secondary school where Business becomes part of the youngsters’ curriculum,” Hooker explained.

“All of the youngsters who took part really got into the project and should be very proud of their efforts.”

Sophie Hukin, Enterprise Academy Manager at the Premier League, praised the work the Foundation of Light had done in preparing the children for the next stage of their education.

“It’s fantastic that the Foundation of Light has been proactive in developing an interest in business and enterprise in primary school pupils,” Hukin added.

“The skills and knowledge that they learn whilst on this programme and the Premier League Enterprise programme will not only be useful in business classes but in their broader lives.

“The confidence, ownership of learning and enthusiasm was clearly evident through the work produced and the presentations given on the day.”

Carl Robb, Caterpillar’s North East Learning Manager, further praised the work he has been part of as a partner of the Foundation of Light.

“As a partner of the Foundation of Light I often get the opportunity to support the great work the team do with school children and also adults,” Robb said.

“I really enjoyed the event; the atmosphere was great and the staff from the Foundation were very friendly.

“The children were amazing so it was great to see education, business and the football club working together to help these youngsters.”

The Foundation of Light are now applying for funding to launch the programme across the region and hope to be able to offer it to schools from September 2014.