Dragons' Den - 19 January 2010
The first BEST Dragons’ Den of 2010 took place at Maple House in the City Centre on 19 January 10.
The dragons on the panel in the morning were: Raffaela Goodby – Employee Engagement Manager, Andrew Potter - Directorate Engagement Manager for Chief Executive’s, Development and Environment & Culture Directorates, Maria Haran-Lewis – Programme Officer for Children, Young People & Families Directorate and Esme Ballard - Contract Delivery Officer for North West Area Regeneration Team.
First up in front of the dragons was BEST Leader Adam McVeighty, from Kents Moat and Sheldon Libraries, and his colleague Emma Sloan. They were looking for a very small amount of funding to aid the launch of their summer reading challenge. The team were hoping to use funding to hire costumes and pay for bus fares to visit 11 schools over 5 days to get more young people to sign up to the challenge. The dragons were very impressed with their presentation and thought it was a wonderful idea, they felt that a great deal of thought had been put into the pitch and the team had also looked at other funding possibilities. They were happy to agree to fund the project.
Second to face the dragons were Liz Palmer and colleagues, from Archives & Heritage Public Service Team in Central Library. Liz and her team had noticed that in the wake of television programmes such as “Who Do You Think Are”, there had been an increase in members of the public researching their family history, in fact there are an estimated 4 million enthusiasts in the UK alone with Birmingham Central Library being recognised as a regional centre for national records. In light of this the team want to produce information packs detailing how to research your family history, to be sold in the library. The profit of this project would be used to print further packs for sale. The team gave a thoroughly researched and detailed presentation to which the dragons had no doubt in saying yes.
Teresa Blakemore from the Perry Tree Centre in the Adults & Communities Directorate faced the dragons before the break. The team were looking for funding to purchase two plasma screens for reception at the centre to display details of meetings and activities, menu options, visiting times and other useful information for service users. The dragons felt that the team should have done more research and looked into costs in more detail. The dragons did not grant funding but suggested that the team should think about the bid more thoroughly; look at approaching other partners who use the centre, such as the NHS, for part funding and even look at advertising and sponsorship from the local community.
Last up in front of the morning dragons were Environment & Leisure Services Corporate Management Team, represented by Chloe Tringham and Jan Hall, who were bidding for funding to hold a small staff awards ceremony in the Environment and Culture Directorate. The team detailed the way in which the awards would recognise those staff who had shown great initiative, dedication and commitment to the core values and demonstrated excellent services to customers. The team felt that this would not only raise morale within the directorate but also encourage staff to perform better. The awards would also be tied in with the annual Chamberlain Awards. The dragons felt that this was a great idea supported by a fantastic presentation and were happy to agree to fund this.
The afternoon session saw a change of dragons on the panel: Alex Whittard – BEST Workshop Programme Lead, Kathryn Davis – Team Manager, Disability Services Direct Employment Team, Katie Trout – Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive and Sammy Williams –BEST Events Project Officer.
First in front of the afternoon dragons were Jayne Turner and the team from CM2, Heart of Birmingham Ladywood office in the Children, Young People & Families Directorate. The team wanted to transform a currently cluttered office space into a room for learning. The room would be a quiet room where people could go to update themselves on legislation, work on caseloads and reflect on best practice; the room could also be used by students and visiting professionals. The funding would be needed to decorate and furnish the room to make it suitable for use. The dragons liked the idea and thought it was a worthwhile project however, they felt that there were some details missing from the presentation. The team were asked to submit some further information and photos, also to consider if there was any surplus furniture from the furniture pool that would be suitable. They gave a provisional yes, pending the information requested.
Felicia Forbes from the Anthony Road Children’s Centre, in the Children, Young People & Families Directorate, approached the dragons hoping to secure funding for three promotional stands to be used at roadshows to promote the wide variety of services and classes on offer at the centre to the community. The dragons thought that the pitch showed promise but that some work was needed on the design and that maybe some joint sponsorship from Surestart should be investigated and so awarded the team 50% of the funding requested.
Braving the dragons from the Business Support Team in Corporate Governance was Marvin-Dean Palmer who was hoping to be successful at securing funding for two digital signage systems, one for Ingleby House and the other for King Edward House. Marvin felt that these systems would benefit service users and staff alike when visiting these properties. The BEST dragons were intrigued by the idea but decided to offer only half of the funding to purchase one system for Ingleby House and urged Marvin to undertake a full impact analysis of the system to see what benefits had been created by it.
Last to face the dragons for the day were Shesten Mitcham and her colleagues from Perry Tree Community Links Team, in the Adults & Communities Directorate. The team, who work with older adults to support them to live in the community as independently as possible, wanted funding to purchase a new projector and large screen to allow service users to enjoy films and documentaries in the centre. The team have approached their local Blockbuster store to have films lent or donated to the centre to make a wider selection of titles available to the service users. Shesten gave a very compelling presentation and the dragons were more than happy to support this idea.