£37,300 funding distributed to six grassroots community groups by Yorkshire Dragons

Last night, business leaders and regional investors alongside an excited audience of friends and supporters of regional grant-maker Two Ridings Community Foundation, came together at Birdsall House, Malton to hear six small grassroots charities pitch at a Yorkshire version of Dragons’ Den.

Hosted by the Sheriffs’ of North and East Yorkshire, the charities – from all corners of the region – came away with £37,300 between them, with the amounts awarded determined by the Dragons after hearing each charity make a passionate 4 minute pitch.

Each group told the story of the support their organisation gave to local people and what they needed funding for right now.

City of Hull Sports and Community Group, a boxing club tackling health and social inequality in their neighbourhood in Hull were awarded £9,800. They act as a crucial community hub on the estate and will be buying laptops for their homework club as well as healthy meals for children at their after-school club.

Bob Beautyman from City of Hull Sport & Community Group was in great spirits about the event this morning.

“We really enjoyed pitching to everyone at the Dragons’ Den. It was a great experience and we found the support from everyone overwhelming.

The money will be spent on laptops for our community learning suite and towards the provision of healthy meals for children accessing after-school activities.

We cannot thank the Dragons enough for the funding and supporting us in trying to Engage, Educate and Inspire people of all ages on our Estate.”

Sight Support Ryedale who offer practical, social and emotional support to over 200 sight impaired people in Ryedale were awarded £7,000 plus a bonus Audience award of £1,000. With the funding they will be extending their transport offer, reaching more rurally isolated people so they are able to get to the social activities and support the Sight Support offer, so that they too can live independent, active and sociable lives.

Julie Atkinson at Sight Support Ryedale said:

“This was a unique way of raising funds for Sight Support Ryedale.  We were delighted to be chosen to showcase our services and the positive impact it makes to the lives of sight impaired people. 

The Dragons’ award of £7,000 and the audience award of £1,000 means that we will be able to provide transport, for our beneficiaries, to our social and activities groups so that no one is isolated by their sight loss”

After a passionate presentation from their 17 year old beneficiary Chloe, Beverley Cherry Tree Community Centre were awarded £7,000 plus an Audience award of £500 to fund activities for their Youth Club as well as venue costs for activities for the young people they work with on the Cherry Tree Estate. Chloe finds the youth club a real escape from her everyday life, as a carer for her Mum, and has built up her confidence and self-esteem because of it. She certainly shined at Dragons Den. The Community Centre also run a community pantry, a credit union, an out-of-school and holiday club, a low cost preschool and a free advice service.

Jo Ramsay who runs Beverley Cherry Tree Community Centre said:

“We are absolutely thrilled to come away with £7,000 to go towards our young people having meaningful and fun activities that enhance their lives. We love seeing the young people we support grow in confidence and gain life skills alongside really enjoying themselves.”

£5,000 was awarded to Big Futures Foundation in York to help them expand their model of helping disadvantaged kids reach their full potential nationally, £3,500 to York Racial Equality Network to support people experiencing race hate and support a friendship group for ethnic minority communities in York. Driffield Men’s Shed were awarded £3,500 to build up their membership and cover core costs.

The whole idea of the event was to showcase the grassroots organisations all over the region who work day in, day out to improve the lives of local people. Telling their stories to the Dragons and audience really brought to life the challenges people face and the local issues across the region.

Each of the six Dragons – David Kerfoot, Nanci Downey, Thomas Martin, Alistair Needler, Paul Waine and Richard Page – friends and supporters of Two Ridings donated to support the charities, match funded by Two Ridings. The High Sheriffs covered all the event costs. Dragons’ Den was generously hosted by James and Cara Willoughby at their beautiful home Birdsall House near Malton.

Nanci Downey, one of the Dragons said:

“Dragons’ Den is a really engaging way to see how different grassroots community organisations around the region are supporting and enhancing the lives of local people. It is fantastic to be able to award them additional funding to really make a difference.”

One of Two Ridings’ Fund-holders, Nigel Jowett from In-Site Property Solutions said:

“Dragons’ Den was the perfect way to get close to charities and the causes and people whose lives they are trying to change for the better.

Two Ridings has got it spot on again and we are delighted to share their values.”

Richard Shepherdson, High Sheriff of East Riding said:

“I am absolutely delighted that over £37,000 was distributed to six fantastic, diverse local charities. It was great to see everyone have such an enjoyable evening. A big thank you to Two Ridings, our hosts Cara and James, Chris Legard for compering, Venetia Wrigley, the six very competent Dragons and the generous, warm audience.”

Venetia Wrigley High Sheriff of North Yorkshire added:

“What a super evening! I am so pleased to be able to support such an event. In my year as High Sheriff I have visited so many local charities working so hard to help people in their local communities. Without events like this such great work is very rarely recognised.”

Jan Garrill, Chief Executive of Two Ridings Community Foundation summed it up.

“Dragons’ Den showcases just a fraction of the groups in the region and gives donors and investors a real insight into the difference those organisations make to local people. Last year Two Ridings supported 600 small community groups, just like the ones pitching at Dragons’ Den, distributing £3million in grants.  We love being able to support groups further, because they are the people on the ground that really transform communities.”

She went on to say:

“These events are also about shining a light on local charities. Many people may not be aware of what they do and how straight forward it is to support them via Two Ridings as their local, accredited community foundation. I would urge anyone interested in doing something amazing to get in touch with me.”

Jan can be contacted directed on 07554 425431.

Find out more about Setting up a fund with Two Ridings Community Foundation.