Dragons' Den - 16 September 2008
Round three of the BEST Dragons’ Den took place on 16th September at the Custard Factory in Digbeth. The day was divided into two halves with separate morning and afternoon Dragons. The Dragons for the morning session were: Bella Jones – Communications Manager for the BEST Support Team, Sue Ayres – Head of Looked After Children’s Services in Children Young People & Families, Chantelle Dingwall – BEST Leader of the Year 2007, Lynette Davies – Finance Manager for Adults & Communities and Tony Ashfield – Regional Manager for West Midlands Regional Improvement & Efficiency Partnership. First up in front of the Dragons were the Business Support Team from Learning Disabilities in Adults & Communities lead by Nazia Bi who were looking for funding to revamp their customer reception. The team wanted a water dispenser, and visitor chairs for their waiting area to help improve the impression given to customers and the morale of the team. Nazia showed the dragons how the team would monitor the success of the action and how the idea had come about out of their BEST team meeting. The team were successful in achieving the funding they required to make the changes.
Next to enter the Den were BEST leaders Emma Tilter & Tracy Wykes from Wallace Lawler Residential Care Home in Adults and Communities, who up until recently had been running a residents bar through fundraising events and competitions and on a donations basis. They applied for funding to apply for and fund a proper drinks license to allow them to run the bar properly. This bar is in the lounge of Wallace Lawler and is used by many other Care Homes in the area as many of the residents are unable get out to socialise. Emma & Tracy did exceptionally well and managed to secure the funding required to support their licensing application.
Customer Relations Service from Adults & Communities based at King Edward House had been experiencing issues surrounding staff safety after dealing with several aggressive and threatening members of the public. They approached the dragons to assist in paying for the purchase and installation of a security camera system. BEST Leader David Lewis and colleague Dally Josen gave an entertaining, unusual and effective presentation which impressed the Dragons and convinced them to part fund the new security system.
Stan Hubbard from Library Services at Home within the Development & Culture Directorate wanted to promote their service through an open day and promotional portfolio. The team felt that not enough of the key people knew about their services and asked the dragons for funding to help them to make this possible. The team provided samples of their current advertising materials and did a presentation detailing what their service did and what their needs were. The Dragons offered not only the funding required but their advice on PR matters and support.
Dragon Lynette Davis said “The quality of some of the presentations on that day were superb, staff had gone to a great deal of effort to showcase their ideas.”
The afternoon panel consisted of only four dragons these were Richard Billingham - Head of Organisation Development, Raffaela Goodby - Employee Engagement Manager, Sean Connolly – Interim Service Director for Resources (People) for Adults and Communities and Howard Davis – Regional Associate for the West Midlands, Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA).
Entering the den after lunch was BEST leader Carol Dawson from Services for Older People in Housing & Constituencies. Their action and presentation centred on a joint working project for two BEST teams to join forces to give one of their sheltered housing scheme a garden makeover. Carol and her team wanted to use this experience to as not only a team building activity but an opportunity to give something back to their community. They were awarded the funding they required and asked to consider the possibility of repeating the action with other teams and sheltered housing schemes.
Also in approaching the Dragons for funding was a joint effort between Joined Up Cluster (Perry Beeches) and Tower Hill Library. The team pitched for financial assistance for their Tales from Tower Hill project, the money would be used to cover the costs of T-shirts for staff so that the children in participating schools would be able to easily recognise the reading team. Tales from Tower Hill will get volunteers from a range of agencies to read to 1,500 children over a two week period. Two librarians form Tower Hill Library, Chris Porter & Vicci Trigger, the cluster coordinator Sarah Dorsett and two children from Perry Beeches Junior School made their presentation to the panel of dragons. The children explained how they felt reading could be cool and why it was important to read. The Dragons were very impressed with the idea and were happy to offer funding and assistance to the project, not only volunteering the services of the BEST Support Team, some of the Dragons pledged their time and said that they would join the list of volunteers reading to children.
Finally one of the Care Management Teams lead by Cheryl Kidby entered the den. Their aim was to bid for funding to take children and young people, their families and staff to West Midlands Safari Park for the day as an opportunity to build positive working relationships with their customers and get the families to spend some quality time together. The team were hoping that through this activity it would help break some of the negative stereotypes that can be associated with care workers and the job that they do. Cheryl and team had already submitted an excellent application form and proposal, along with them they brought a very confident and compelling 10 year old service user who spoke to the Dragons about her situation and how this project would benefit her and her family. The panel who had been impressed by the performance of the team awarded the care management team with the funding they had required and a special addition of matching t-shirts for the children to wear on the day
Dragon Sean Connolly said “Listening to teams and in some cases service users reminded me what my job is REALLY about. A great experience and good use of my time.”