Over the last 5 years Well Doncaster has been guided by and have added to the growing evidence base that investing in supporting, working with and empowering communities facilitates healthy communities. We take an asset-based approach in ensuring our work is community-led and do our upmost to involve local residents and VCFS organisations in the decision making to facilitate change.
Covid-19 has been a significant risk to the resilience of our communities, and we have led in supporting communities to continue, adapt and change their provision to ensure residents receive the support they need.
As part of our continued support to local communities, we gave voluntary, community and faith sector organisations the opportunity to apply to pitch their project ideas to residents and panel members at a Dragon’s Den events across the Borough.
Successful applicants were shortlisted and invited to their respective Dragon’s Den for their locality. During the event, all community groups were given a five to ten minute slot to pitch their idea to a panel consisting of residents, a cabinet member and a Community Wealth Builder representative, a programme which support social enterprises across Doncaster. Everyone attending the event was issued with a ballot card to cast a vote for their favourite organisation. Votes were counted at the end of the event and winners announced by each cabinet member. £10,000 was to be awarded to one winner per locality.
North’s Dragon’s Den took place at Bentley Pavilion on 7th September between 5-7pm. The event was very well attended with 25-30 attendees, including the mayor, Ros Jones.
There was four successful applicants shortlisted for the North Dragon’s Den; Bentley Urban Farm, Jackdaw Wood, Scawthorpe Community Centre & Breaking Beats.
All four applicants were fantastic and all pitches made powerful statements about their community work and why they deserved to win the £10,000 on offer. Unfortunately there could only be one winner and that winner was Scawthorpe Community Centre! Scawthorpe Community Centre want to provide a boxing club for local youngsters. The aim is to take them off the streets and teach them life skills as they move forward.
As all other applicants pitches proved so popular and beneficial to the local community, Major Jones announced she would award an additional £2000 funding to all community groups. A trend that was to follow in all other localities…
Central were first to kick of the round of Dragon’s Den events hosting the meet at Quaker Meeting House on Monday 6th September. We were joined by Councillor Jane Nightingale as panel member and a great turn out of residents who had the opportunity to cast their vote.
Seven applications were received from Central organisations and five were shortlisted and invited to the Dragon’s Den event; The Bike Shack, Managing Emotions Project, Fun Filled Days CIC, D31 Art Gallery and Kings Cross Church. All groups were completely unique and brilliantly pitched their ideas to a packed out room and showcased just a snippet of the impressive and much needed community work that happens across Central Doncaster.
The Bike Shack were crowned winners on the day and will invest the money in the development of a Bike Shack over at Woodfield Park, Balby. The Bike Shack work with a number of initiatives including bicycle repair workshops, education workshops in schools and access to bikes for disadvantaged families and children. Until recently, they were operating from Bentley Farm but the investment of the Dragon’s Den funds will allow them to build a year-long bike shack and allow for the expansion of the project. A great initiative that has lots of potential particularly in an area where resident’s feedback suggests a lack of children and young people’s provisions and high levels of deprivation.
Whilst there was only one group that could receive the £10,000, each and every community group pitched an idea that provides such a valuable service and support to their local residents that Well Doncaster were pleased to announce £2000 to be awarded to all shortlisted applicants in Central.
On the 7th September 2021 residents from across the South of Doncaster were invited to attend their local Dragons Den event where they could be on the panel of ‘Dragons’ and vote for which organisation from across the South would win £10,000. Seven fantastic organisation applied to pitch on the night and four were selected. Each group had 10 minutes to pitch their ideas to a panel made up of the residents in attendance, Councillor Nigel Ball, Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Leisure, Culture and Planning and Vicky Pugh from Community Wealth Builder.
Each organisation did a fantastic job pitching their ideas and answering questions from the panel. Below is information on each pitch heard on the night:
- Mindful Activities Yorkshire – pitched to deliver creative training activities to 10 groups in the South of Doncaster, each group will be supported to create a piece of Art with each group receiving £250 worth of goods to be sold.
- Writing for Wellness – pitched to fund additional staff for their creative catalyst classes. Attendees are invited to use a prompt to free-write their own response and share in an open space for feedback from the group.
- Empowered in Nature – pitched to provide ecotherapy ‘Overcoming Emotional Eating’ Workshops. They would be delivered by three professionally qualified practitioners; an Accredited counsellor, Life coach and Outdoor Education/Forest Skills Specialist and provide mental health support.
- Bee You Counselling and Wellbeing Services – pitched to provide subsidised counselling and wellbeing services to those on low income or financially impacted by the Covid-19 Pandemic, to provide free counselling and wellbeing sessions to children and free counselling sessions to bereaved parents, working with local support groups for those who have suffered child loss.
It was agreed on the night that it was a really hard decision as all the pitches were of such high quality, however, following a count of the votes Mindful Activities Yorkshire were awarded the £10,000. To support the fantastic work of the other groups they were awarded £2000.
East Dragons Den had three different finalists which were Club Thorne, Armthorpe Food Project and Unlock your you. All three groups gave amazing pitches and showcased the variety of community support and services on offer in the East of Doncaster. All groups received positive feedback from community residents and were able to connect and network with other like-minded groups during the event.
Club Thorne were announced winners of the Dragon’s Den in East Doncaster! Councillor Andrea Robinson and Vicky Pugh, representative of Community Wealth Builder, said they were pleased with how the group’s project ideas to deliver multi-sports to the local community and build on their community work hit the priorities of their community and how the work they will deliver will benefit two communities.
Well Doncaster were pleased to award Armthorpe Food Projet and Unluck Your You with an additional £2000 to support their ongoing community work.
The events were very well received by all that attended! Community groups were excited by the different approach to accessing funding and opportunity to show case their ideas to their local communities. The team received many thanks from the applicants for the opportunity to network with other likeminded group and it seemed to have opened up a lot of opportunities.
The Well Doncaster team want to extend a massive thank you to all groups that pitched their ideas, residents that attended and cast their votes and to Mayor Jones, Councillor Nightingale, Councillor Robinson and Councillor Ball for attending and acting as panel member in each locality.