School Children Become VIPS


Three winning pupils from Parklands Primary School have been made VIPs for the night after winning the ‘Northern Powergrid Light up Leeds competition’ to design their own Christmas light to feature in Leeds’ 2016 display.

The winners, who were joined by their class mates, celebrated their success at their very own Light Switch On VIP party.

Pupils from across Leeds entered the competition, which is now in its second year, held as part of a joint educational programme by Northern Powergrid and Ahead Partnership. The competition saw students participate in projects to aid their understanding of energy consumption, communities and lighting design whilst encouraging them to engage with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects.

The event, which included festive music, facepainting as well as photo opportunities in Santa’s sleigh, was hosted by Northern Powergrid, the company which keeps the lights on for 8 million customers across the North East, Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire and local social enterprise Ahead Partnership.

The Leeds Lights team (part of Leeds City Council) entertained the school children with their very own mini switch on, before the big Leeds Lights main event, so they could see their winning ‘Pull a cracker with your community’ design come to life.

Siobhan Barton, Northern Powergrid’s Head of Stakeholder & Customer Engagement, said: “It’s been fantastic to share in the children’s excitement for this innovative educational programme. The competition has proved an inventive way to get youngsters across the city involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects. Their ‘Pull a cracker with your community’ design is really eye-catching and the winners should be incredibly proud of their achievements and being able to share their creativity with everyone who visits Leeds to see the lights.”

Stephanie Burras CBE, Ahead Partnership’s Chief Executive, said: “When local employers like Northern Powergrid bring their creativity and fun to create a competition like this, it really fires up young people and ignites their passion for STEM subjects. It gives them a better understanding of their future career choices and it’s an opportunity outside the classroom where the learning will really stay with them.”

Harry Rhodes, Leeds Lights Manager, said: “This is the second year we’ve had the honour of helping local school children see their hard work illuminated. This year’s competition has been a great way to get young people thinking about and producing something for their local community.”

Chris Dyson, Headteacher at Parkland Primary School, said: “This has been an amazing chance for the students to learn about energy, be creative and learn more about communities. It’s really inspired the children – and being able to see their illuminated light and share it with their families is a special moment for them and the school.”