YOUNG people in Bude have been getting creative recently as part of the ‘FIRST LEGO League’ regional competition.

The town was host to the third FIRST LEGO League (FLL) competition last month.

FLL asks pupils aged nine to 16 to build and program a LEGO robot to undertake 15 different missions, present an innovation project to a panel of judges, and work together as a team to achieve the overall Champion’s Award which celebrates teams who achieve across the board.

The theme of this year’s competition was ‘Masterpiece’, posing the question: ‘How might we use technology to increase engagement in the arts?’

FLL is the largest international STEM competition, and the team at Cognition Creative Learning, CIC - a Bude-based social enterprise - have been working hard to support and encourage take up in local primary and secondary schools. 

Company director, Briony Cole said: “We’re incredibly proud of the growth in the region and loved welcoming over 200 young people, parents, coaches and teaching staff to Bude over our two-day competition. What’s most striking is the increased skills and ability of the young engineers, product designers and programmers taking part. We’re starting to see children returning for their second or third season of FLL and to see the legacy and longevity of our efforts is incredibly rewarding.” 

Mentoring and support sessions for local teachers and staff, as well as robot loans for local schools ensured that access to the competition is not restricted. Cognition have worked closely with GCHQ Bude who have sponsored a number of teams to enter and who have supported training sessions in school.

GCHQ Bude outreach officer said: "GCHQ Bude has taken great pleasure from being able to provide direct support to several of the participating schools' teams.  Any activity that encourages girls and boys to work in teams, solve challenges together and deliver their solutions in a practical way means they are developing the same skills that GCHQ staff apply every day in their work."

A spokesperson for Cognition Creative Learning added: “The two days were an absolute joy; full of enthusiasm, passion and an incredibly supportive atmosphere with veteran teams supporting rookies on their first FLL journey. The event would not have worked were it not for the competent, helpful and friendly team of volunteers who ranged from community members, Cornwall Council staff and STEM Ambassadors from the MET Office, Babcock, Avery and GCHQ Bude.”

Company director Sophie Calienda said: “We are honoured to be in a position where we can bring opportunities like these to even the most remote communities, ensuring that all children have access to exciting technology, can see engineering in action and have exposure to STEM careers and industry professionals.”