Local business people became Dragons for an evening in support of a Dragons’ Den style charity event held at the British Ironworks Centre. Shropshire Providers Consortium organised the event so community organisations could pitch for advice, help and support from local businesses.
Lindsay Barton of SPC said: “SPC wants to connect businesses for social good, providing a link between industry and voluntary and community enterprises in Shropshire. These Dragons’ Den events are enabling local businesses to support community organisations benefitting local communities and Shropshire as a whole.”
Headway provides support and rehabilitation for people with an acquired head injury and are looking for help with new purpose-built premises.
Shropshire Disability Network support people with disabilities in Shropshire providing an invaluable source of information on their website which is used by all sorts of people who work with the disabled – including carers and social workers. They also run the Safe Places community initiative in Shropshire.
CEDAR Education CIC offer a life lessons programme in dealing with bereavement – the cost of bereavement is high – avoiding talking about death causes isolation, drink problems, stress and health issues – and there is a lot of suffering – someone dies every minute in the UK.
Shropshire Youth Association engage with over 4,000 young people every week, supporting youth clubs and groups and providing programmes like the CRUCIAL CREW staying safe programme in primary schools.
Clive Knowles, chairman and founder of the British Ironworks Centre, was one of the dragons. He has worked with ‘Support after murder and manslaughter’ in Birmingham and the knife initiative and is passionate about national issues like knife crime and gun crime. He worked with Derby Police to create an anti-firearms monument – the Dove of Peace sitting in a nest of firearms. He agreed that there needs to be more awareness of the issues around bereavement and more support available. He said the information offered by the Shropshire Disability Network will be really useful to him. He said: “I am very aware how many people with disabilities visit us here – and I am really keen to make the centre as disability friendly as possible – I am sure we can help each other.” He also has visitors who have been helped by Headway and is keen to better understand how to help their clients.
John Rainford of Strawberry Fields, Ian Follington – a Business Doctor, and Peter Starbuck – a business mentor all offered help with strategy and connecting people. Denise McGowan of Evanji offered help with raising awareness and support for CEDAR Education CIC looking at their business model. Denise also gives talks to WI groups and she said she would ask for volunteers who might do one or two workshops at youth clubs for Shropshire Youth Association – making and doing things – demonstrating art and crafts, particular skills like needlework or decorations.
These were just a few of the issues discussed and some of the support offered. The charities themselves also found that they could help each other – Shropshire Youth Association is providing a storage facility at their offices for Shropshire Disability Network – they have no office space of their own as all the volunteers work from home.
The businesses that became ‘dragons’ for the evening found the information provided really interesting – and useful; they were inspired by all the volunteers and were delighted to discover that they could help in so many ways.