MORE than 60 students were honoured at an awards ceremony celebrating youngsters who have overcome barriers to achieve success.

Youngsters from six schools across East Lancashire have been taking part in the National Social Mobility Programme, which is run by the Villiers Park Educational Trust.

At an event held at Lancaster University, the scholars received awards, with 63 picking up the Gold Standard Award.

The Scholars Programme is a four-year programme designed to empower bright students from less advantaged backgrounds to overcome the obstacles to success, develop the personal and academic skills to fulfil their potential and access leading universities.

Since launching in East Lancashire early last year, in partnership with Lancaster University and supported by the Wolfson Foundation, the Scholars Programme has worked with more than 100 students.

The schools taking part include Accrington Academy, Blackburn Central High School with Crosshill, Blackburn College, Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, Haslingden High School and St Christopher’s CE High School in Accrington.

Success stories include Natalie Whitham who was the first in Accrington Academy’s history to be offered a place at the University of Oxford while others have achieved places at Lancaster University to study Medicine and Edinburgh Napier to study veterinary science.

The Mike Baker Scholar of the Year Awards went to Ethan from Darwen Aldridge Community Academy, Aamirah from Blackburn Central High School with Crosshill, Megan from Haslingden High School and Sarah from Blackburn College.

Sarah said: “I am really happy to receive the award and extremely grateful that I was given the opportunity to participate in the Scholars Programme.”

Leanne Bates, from Lancaster University, said: “We believe that the Scholars Programme is a story of optimism about the potential of the young people in East Lancashire to achieve their goals.

“The programme provides students with a strong support network in which they can grow and develop academically, emotionally and culturally.”