Thousands across the county are doing their bit to make Blue Monday a thing of the past, and make Cumbria the happiest place around.

Under the banner of Brighter Cumbria, which is aiming to break the world record for the most random acts of kindness in one day, almost 20 schools and dozens of businesses are spreading smiles today – the most miserable day of the year.

The world record is currently held by Derby, standing at 20,070, but hopes are rising that Cumbria can match that number, with plenty on-board to lend a hand.

Pupils involved with the grin-inducing task include Barrow Island infants, Ghyllside Primary School in Kendal, Cockermouth School and all of the Cumbria Education Trust (CET) schools, including William Howard and west Cumbrian academies.

Up in the north, youngsters from Caldew Lea, Kingmoor Infants and Inglewood Junior School will be in Carlisle city centre giving away sweets and flowers to help spread the word about Brighter Cumbria, with the hope that people will continue the chain of happiness with their own act of kindness.

Over in the west of the county, Workington Victoria Junior School pupils are taking gifts to care homes, leaving kind messages at the library and making backpacks to send to Malawi.

And Whitehaven Academy youngsters are also jumping on-board, writing messages of kindness to staff and other pupils.

Lorrayne Hughes, CEO of CET, said: “We are delighted to be part of this initiative as it reinforces our values of respect, resilience and responsibility.

"We have got some amazing things happening in our schools – pupils at Tebay, for example, have made bird feeders to give to older people in the community.”

Businesses taking part include Story Contracting, where staff are having a 'dress brighter day' and baking cakes for charity, and The Cornerstone cafe in Denton Holme is offering commuters free hot drinks to lift their spirits.

The Brighter Cumbria project has been funded by The Cumberland Building Society, who are hosting activities in all their branches.

Brand manager Phillip Ward said: “The Cumberland is all about making people’s lives brighter, from helping people to buy a home to saving for those big life goals. What better way to make people feel brighter than for the whole county to come together and do something kind for someone else?"

He added: "The response to our Brighter Cumbria initiative has been truly amazing, and we’re thrilled so many schools and businesses want to take part.”

Cumbria’s 4,500 scouts are also taking part, with County Commissioner Eddie Ward saying: “Cumbria Scouts are proud to support Brighter Cumbria, good deeds are part of our DNA.

"As Scouts, we believe every act of kindness has the power to transform society and make it easier for everyone to get the help they need.”