Dragons' Den - 23 July 2009
The eighth BEST Dragons’ Den took place during the morning of 23rd July at the Orange Studio in the City Centre. The Dragons on the panel were: Gill Taylor – Constituency Director for Sutton Coldfield, Siobhan Brittland – Directorate Engagement Manager for Housing & Constituencies Directorate, Hazel BroadHouse – Directorate Engagement Manager for Chief Executives Directorate and Chantelle Dingwall – BEST Leader of the Year 2007.
First to face the Dragons were a team from Selly Oak Constituency Office led by Claire Vaughan in the Housing & Constituencies Directorate. The team were looking for funding to run a day trip for local older residents to coincide with National Older People’s Day on 1 October. The day will include giving local residents a tour of the constituency showing them what services are available to them e.g. Neighbourhood offices, Libraries & Leisure facilities. A short talk & walk around one of the open spaces, lunch and an afternoon talk with a local historian. The dragons thought it was a great idea and a wonderful way to get community engagement and suggested a few ideas about involving the Adults & Communities directorate. The dragons were more than happy to support this action.
Next to enter the Dragons’ lair was Julie Cowan & Tony Riggey from the Martineau Service Team in the Children, Young People & Families Directorate. The team were hoping to secure funding for Turves Green Little League Netball Team to support its continued growth. Netball is an easy way to encourage sport and activity for families on a low income. The team hoped that by setting up a little league for 11 year olds they will introduce and encourage a love of sport and activity that will follow the children through into secondary school. The netball team would be trained by one of the staff who is already a qualified circuit trainer. The dragons, who were treated to a netball display from two students from the team, were initially sceptical of this idea as they were not sure it fell under the remit of the Dragons’ Den. After being given some strict conditions around creating an action plan for engaging with harder to reach groups to ensure the longevity of the project the team were awarding the funding as the action supports the Council’s ‘Be Healthy’ outcome.
Facing the Dragons after the break was the team for Children with Hearing Impairment, from the Children, Young People & Families Directorate. Led by Cathy Spruce the team were hoping to provide taxi transport to two playgroups and a baby group for hearing impaired children and their families. One group is weekly, another fortnightly and the third is monthly, all based around the Saltley & Erdington area, the team believe that the funding will be enough to provide transport for the coming academic year 2009/10. Cathy gave a fantastic presentation during which all the dragons got to try out hearing aids and experience what it is like to be deaf. The dragons were keen to support this project but were unsure about the long term practical implications of providing transport beyond 2009/10. They decided on several caveats for the funding, such as insisting that the team look for alternative funding, providing complete costings and breakdowns and work with families to provide public transport tutorials.
Finally the commissioning team from the Adults & Communities Directorate led by Shakil Ahmed entered the den. The team had recently identified, as one of their BEST actions, that many of the team had always wanted to learn sign language and felt that it would help them with their work. The team had already undertaken one course which catered for 12 people but there were more than 35 of the team who were unable to take part. Shakil decided to put forward a bid to the dragons den for funding to run two further classes. The dragons were impressed with the initiative shown by the team and offered the team the funding to pay for one extra class.
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