Commonword - a Manchester based organised with a mission to help new writers - has launched a competition for unpublished authors of children's fiction. (They have a very specific definition of what that means, but basically if you have already published something in another field - as long as it is not a novel for children - you should be ok. Read all the conditions thoroughly before submitting though...)
What they want
(Up to the) First 4000 words of a children's novel already written. Synopsis. Biography.
When they want it
February 29 2012
The writing has to "embrace ethnic diversity" OR the author must "through their own ethnicity and culture."
Who can submit
Resident in UK
Unpublished - read the terms and condititions
What you get (fingers crossed and a lot of hard work)
£500 cash prize
£100 worth of Puffin books of the winner’s choice.
Honour and Glory. (Although it won't help you at Sainsbury's check-out, it could be just what you need to interest an agent or publisher)