£49,560 funding given out to six local community organisations

Nobody goes away empty handed at Dragons’ Den: New Beginnings, Clean Slate Solutions, Just the Job Environmental Enterprise, SELFA and Shine21 happy with their unrestricted funding

Last week North Yorkshire business leaders and an excited audience of supporters of Two Ridings Community Foundation came together at Tennants of Leyburn to hear six small local charities pitch to four Yorkshire ‘Dragons’ to gain funding for their projects supporting local people in their communities.

Hosted by James Lambert OBE, the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire, the groups came away from the Dragons’ Den event with just shy of £50,000 between them, with the amounts awarded determined by the Dragons, and also the audience, after hearing each charity make a passionate 4-minute pitch.

Each group explained about the support their organisation gave to local people, most of them with a beneficiary telling their own story of how essential the charity had been for them, and went on to talk about the funding they needed right now.

Tamala and Lindsay from New Beginnings Peer Support

New Beginnings Peer Support, is an after-crisis support service for women and their children who have previously been subjected to domestic abuse based in Harrogate. They were asking for £6,500 to pay for half of their accredited peer support and mentoring programme to help their clients access employment, life skills and help others. After an authentic speech by Tamala, one of the women supported by New Beginnings, explaining the difference having peer support made to her particularly in building confidence and moving forward in life, the Dragons decided they wanted the whole project to be funded, so New Beginnings went away with £13,000, double what they had hoped for, with tears of joy running down their faces.

Lindsay Oliver the founder of New Beginnings said:

“We are absolutely blown away by the funding won at Dragons’ Den, it’s truly an organisational dream come true. We’ll now be able to begin a continuous cycle of accredited peers that will support the community that will in turn inspire others to work in a peer role. 2023 is going to be very exciting!”

Elly, a young person supported by SELFA Children’s Charity in Skipton explained what a difference having the charity to go to had made for their life. SELFA supports children and their families through lots of activities and food projects, helping them build resilience and thrive. They received £7,000 for their Community Fridge Hub which will support dozens of families, giving them weekly fresh food boxes and delivering food sessions. All the produce distributed is surplus food from supermarkets, so the project addresses food waste as well as food poverty.

Katie Hogarth of SELFA said:

“Both myself and Elly were on a high after the event and it was a great opportunity for Elly to speak on stage in such a supportive environment.

 We’re very pleased to have secured the funding which will enable us to run a Community Fridge Hub allowing us to meet the needs of more families during this cost of living crisis, run awareness events, signpost people to services that could be supporting them and upskill our young people to prepare and cook a range of healthy and nutritious meals on a budget.”

Jess, Richard, Eddie, Katie and Elly all ready to present

Clean Slate Solutions support people across North Yorkshire with a past conviction into paid employment. They talked about the need for support to help people emotionally and to resettle them back into life before starting a job. Their £8,000 will go towards the salary of a Community Support Mentor to help support men and women released into the region. Eddie, a man who had been in prison for 12 years joined the Founder of Clean Slate Solutions on stage to explain what a lifeline the support was for him.

Clean Slate also came away with an extra £1,000 as their presentation won the hearts of the audience and got their vote.

Richard Brice, Founder of Clean Slate Solutions said

“This fantastic joined up community action is so powerful and well organised, we are lucky as region to have Two Ridings Community Foundation championing our work.

The funding will enable us to support more prison leavers with extra levels of care and attention in those crucial first few weeks resettling them before starting the new job we have likely to have secured for them prior to their release.

The benefits of this funding reach well beyond the life of the grant itself. We are humbled to have been presenting alongside other such great causes.”

Jan Garrill, Janet from Shine 21 and James Lambert

After an impassioned pitch from Janet, a parent supported by Shine 21, the York based Children’s charity received £7,000 for a year’s worth of speech and language classes for two young children with Down Syndrome. Janet talked about how much her two year old son had blossomed since his involvement with Shine 21 and how supportive it was for parents too. She said:

“The funding will help us pay for a year of speech and language therapy. The skills those young children will learn within that time will positively influence them for the rest of their lives. The words ‘thank you’ just doesn’t seem enough.”

Just the Job Environmental Enterprise of Richmond who provide employment, education and social opportunities for vulnerable adults through outdoor activities described the damp area their team members currently have their tea breaks and lunches in. They received £8,000 to create a new warm and cosy rest area amongst an inspiring woodwork space.

Jess, one of their team members, was joyous in her praise for Just the Job and how much she enjoyed working there and being part of the team.

The fab Two Ridings team: Fran, Sarah, Stephanie and Jen

Sadly Angie and Carol from Grassington Hub were unable to come to the event due to Covid, so Jan Garrill Chief Exec of Two Ridings stepped in with Bec Horner their Communications Officer to make their case for funding for a new wellbeing cafe to complement their community Library and Men’s Shed, and to grow their befriending service to ensure older local people remain connected. They received the precise £6560 they needed.

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, the local issues across the region and the crucial support community-led organisations provide.

Jan Garrill and Bec Horner standing in for Grassington Hub

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

“The groups pitching at Dragons’ Den are typical of the hundreds of organisations Two Ridings support every year. It’s a great opportunity for donors and investors to understand the impact community organisations have on local people and the difference they make.

Last year Two Ridings supported over 500 community organisations distributing £2.2 million 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:

“I am delighted so many people in the audience were keen to know how they could support organisations just like the ones who showcased. I would urge anyone interested in doing something amazing to get in touch with me.”

Such friendly Dragons!

Each of the four Dragons –Vanessa Lee, Nigel Corner, Chris Ingram and Jonathan Turner–donated to support the charities, ticket sales were also put into the funding pot and Two Ridings topped it up.  The High Sheriff covered all the event costs and added even more to the pot.

Vanessa Lee, one of the Dragons said,

“What a fantastic success Dragons’ Den was. I am sure the charities feel like that have achieved so much. It was a great opportunity to showcase themselves to the wider region. There is lots of hard work ahead for them to deliver their projects, it’s amazing to think of how many people will benefit.

“I have been in touch with two of the groups already to offer some pro-bono support and I can’t wait to visit Grassington Hub, it sounds such a hive of community activity.

“This event is such a great opportunity for local business people, and individuals, to support local community groups. It’s what supporting a community foundation is all about.”

James Lambert OBE, High Sheriff of North Yorkshire said,

‘I am absolutely delighted that nearly £50,000 was distributed to six fantastic, diverse local charities. It was great to see everyone have such an enjoyable evening. A big thank you to the very competent Dragons and Tennants for the fabulous venue. The audience were generous and warm; I feel many will want to work with Two Ridings on future funding.”

Anyone wanting to discuss supporting Two Ridings can get in touch directly with Jan Garrill on 07554 425431 or email her at [email protected]

Shine 21 and Just the Job happy with their funding