Young people from five schools across Essex are to test their entrepreneurial skills and raise money for charity.

Haven House Children’s Hospice has launched the Enterprise Project, which will see the teams of students come up with fundraising initiatives, with all the proceeds going to the Woodford based charity.

Bancroft’s, Davenant, Highams Park, Ilford County High and Woodford County High are the schools taking part in the pilot project. Around 30 pupils will link up with mentors from Galliard Homes, sponsors of the project, who will kick-start the fundraising with a £50 start-up fund per school.

The ultimate aim for each school will be to use the investment to generate as much income as they can for the charity, which cares for children with a life-limiting illness. The students could also be in the running to scoop awards.

Ginny Donnelly, Haven House Community Fundraiser, said the challenge is hoping to raise around £7,000 for the hospice.

She said: “This is the first year we will have run the project and we can’t wait to see what fundraising ideas the students come up with. It’s also great that so many young people get to understand more about the valuable work the Hospice does in their local community. These are our supporters and volunteers of the future and we are delighted to have their engagement.”

Kavita Patel, Head of Economics and Careers at Woodford County High, said: “The Business Enterprise Project represents a fantastic opportunity for the young people taking part. They’ll work together in a team to organise their enterprising ideas, gain practical advice from their Galliard Homes mentors and learn new skills including; budgeting, time management, marketing and public speaking, all relevant to their future careers.”

The challenge will climax with an ‘Awards Evening’ in May when each school will showcase their achievements to a panel of judges. Winners will then be selected for a number of awards including; most money raised, most innovative idea, best presentation, mentor’s award and the ‘Galliard Homes Award’.

Galliard Homes Group HR Director Victoria Anthony said: “We’re delighted to be sponsoring the enterprise project and are genuinely excited to see what the students will be able to deliver over the next 11 weeks. We have a long-standing relationship with Haven House with many of our employees giving their time and money to support the hospice.

“The work the students will produce, not only aligns well with our own corporate value of being entrepreneurial in our thinking but will hopefully give them the opportunity to develop team working and communication while learning from their mentors and of course generating income for Haven House.”