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Shropshire Providers Consortium Dragons’ Den Bridgnorth

The first Shropshire Providers Consortium Dragons’ Den Event was held in Bridgnorth on 9th October, 2017 at the Marches Centre of Manufacturing and Technology.

Dragons for the evening were:  Matt Snelson of Grainger & Worrall; Johnny Themans of Good to Great; Louise Welsby of Buy-From; Graeme Christie of Brightcore and John Rainford of Strawberry Fields.

The Marches Centre of Manufacturing and Technology is located at Building 10, Stanmore Industrial Estate, Bridgnorth WV15 5HP


The Judges were:

 Bridgnorth s_DSC1122

The Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprises (VCSEs):

 Bridgnorth s_DSC1119

The Dragons:

Matt Snelson Grainger & Worrall: As well as being the world’s leading provider of high quality, total castings solutions across the automotive, motorsport, energy and wider transport sectors, Grainger & Worrall play a major part in the Marches Centre – which has fantastic state-of-the-art engineering facilities for training and uplifting skills.

Johnny Themans, Good to Great:  A training company that helps start-ups and growing businesses.

Louise Welsby, Buy-From:  A creative agency that offers creative marketing including social media.

Graeme Christie, Brightcore:  Helps businesses with brand and new product development and project management.

John Rainford, Strawberry Fields:  Entrepreneurship, innovation and digital marketing specialists.

Crowsmill Craft Centre CIC teaches practical skills to people with mental health issues and disabilities and also youngsters excluded from mainstream education.  They teach employability skills. Dickon Pitt said:  “We treat everyone with respect and we never have a problem with engagement

What Crowsmill asked for:
Crowsmill would like to expand the services they offer – more hospitality events and activities – they could develop the archery range, offer camping pods – there are lots of possibilities.
Their biggest challenge is promotion.

Jean and Debbie from Headway Shropshire offer support to people with acquired brain injury providing domiciliary care and rehabilitation – helping people have a better quality of life and increased independence.  Headway needs to relocate to a new building.

What Headway asked for:
People are living longer and have more complex needs – they need more space for bigger wheelchairs, better toilet and changing facilities and some residential flats to offer short term rehabilitation.   They would like help with funding new premises.

IMPACT was originally set up as a psycho-therapeutic counselling service for adults with addiction problems.  It is a very distressing fact that more children than adults now seek help from IMPACT – including self-harm with under sixteens. Wendy Condlyffe explained that, to be sustainable, IMPACT needs to deliver funded services.

Out of 164 new clients this year 88 are under 16 – problems include increasingly self-harm.  This is not a commissioned service – the only NHS help for children is through CaMHS.  The only funded service they provide is an outreach service for people with gambling problems.

Wendy Condlyffe is fully qualified in all the areas they work in.

What Impact asked for:
Advice on future funding – the possibility of changing the service to a business proposition?  They asked how they could function as a business?

Mayfair Community Centre based in Church Stretton provides a comprehensive community service for the local area including support for adults with learning difficulties.  Nicola McPherson said that the café and the meeting rooms all have additional capacity that could attract more income.

They have over 300 volunteers,who provide 600 hours of volunteer time every week providing opportunities for people to meet and lead a happy and healthy life.  They offer support in difficult times.  They work closely with the GP practice next door and deliver a Shropshire Council contract to help adults with learning difficulties.

What Mayfair Community Centre asked for:
They need help promoting their services?  The café and the meeting rooms all have additional capacity that could provide more income. The website needs upgrading and they would welcome help with fundraising.

Shropshire MIND provides a drop-in service 7 days a week, with no appointment for anyone with mental health issues.  Shropshire has the highest section 136 incidences in the country where the Police are involved.  Clive Ireland said:  “When the Police bring them to us they need sanctuary – not a cell – and that is what we provide – along with a taxi home.”  Shropshire MIND has difficulty promoting their service in a sensitive way.  Shropshire needs a strong mental health third sector voice.

They work with other organisations like the Samaritans, Street Pastors, West Midlands Police Acute Centre and ReConnect – a pioneering support group that aims to empower everyone to fulfil their true potential.

What Shropshire MIND asked for:
Help running the organisation as it relies heavily on Clive Ireland.
Help getting the message across sensitively – ideas on how to normalise conversations on mental health.



Grainger & Worrall – will help to market Crowsmill to visitors to the Marches Centre and promote outward bounds courses at Crowsmill.  They can help with materials – metal and wood could be re-used by Crowsmill instead of recycled.  There is a possibility of teaching practical mechanics refurbishing a Landrover.

Matt Snelson showed Dickon around the centre and he said Dickon was ‘positively beaming at the equipment’.  Matt will show corporate clients the work Crowsmill is doing and discuss the possibility of running corporate teambuilding courses there.  The Marches Centre will offer the use of their facilities for practical engineering training and access to the equipment.

They will explore the possibility of offering Crowsmill students work experience and apprenticeships.

Good2Great – Dickon would be eligible for Good2Great training on (eg) presentation skills and their strategic management programme – 22 hours of funded support.

Buy-From – Louise offered help with a marketing strategy, website and social media.

A big hill to climb!

GOOD2GREAT might be able to help source a fund-raising specialist.  Or provide some guidance on scientific research possibilities.

Strawberry Fields have done a lot of work with young people working with Young Foundation and Young Enterprise.  John offered help with future strategic direction to help provide a good sense of a realistic picture, ways to resolve the issues they are facing and to look at the holistic picture and formulate a critical path forward.

GOOD2GREAT offered Impact a strategic planning session.

Mayfair Community Centre has all the support every community needs.  Graeme suggested Mayfair might be able to offer to do offer some sessions to raise awareness for Shropshire MIND.  Adult social care is the number one cost to the council.  Mayfair delivers social care very successfully.

Louise offered to help Mayfair with marketing.

Graeme offered to use his experience of working with local communities and the visitor economy to help Mayfair focus on a future strategy.  Graeme said: “I would like to see how we can work with Mayfair to see how it provides for the needs of the community and expand this into other areas – and see how the visitor economy can help.”

Matt Snelson said:  “Adult social care is the biggest cost to the county.  The Mayfair model is an example of what could be done in every village and town to make Shropshire a better place for employees, families and communities – it’s all our futures – everyone will be involved in these issues – now or in the future.”

Shropshire MIND
Grainger & Worrall offered space for a seminar on mental health.  They have a facility at the Marches Centre for 150 – 200 people.  If it was an open event dealing with ‘Social media for children’ people would attend for that reason and it would be easy to introduce mental health as part of this topic.

Johnny Themans – and Graeme Christie – offered to help Clive promote Shropshire MIND in Bridgnorth – linking them to local groups.

Dragons also recognised that Impact has Wendy Condlyffe who has all the qualifications that Clive Ireland and Shropshire MIND need.  A strategy session with both organisations might encourage them to work together.

Mayfair Community Centre is an excellent role model – if all communities had a Mayfair Centre the world would be a much better place.  Maybe this model could be duplicated in other areas?  As Matt Snelson said:  “Adult social care is the biggest cost to the county.  The Mayfair model is an example of what could be done in every village and town to make Shropshire a better place for employees, families and communities – it’s all our futures – everyone will be involved in these issues – now or in the future.”


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