Eight teams of 16 and 17 year-old students from schools across East Herts and Broxbourne took part in the Challenge, organised by the Centre for Voluntary Service (CVS).
The scheme was a celebration of young entrepreneurs, in which groups of sixth-formers had to turn a £100 initial sum into £1000 for charity, by organising fundraising events, which this year included discos, quizzes and football tournaments.
A team of students from St Mary’s School in Cheshunt, named ‘The Saints’, were recognised as the best all-round team, after they raised £2,357.07 for Age UK Hertfordshire. At the awards evening at Hertford Theatre at the end of March, almost £9000 was handed over by students to their respective allocated charities, including Home-Start East Herts, Breathe Easy, Safer Places, The Gifted, Act One Arts Base, Teens Unite, Fieldes Fun and Age UK.
This is the first time that the Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge has been run in East Herts. Teachers reported that participating students had thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to get out into the community and learn something about those that need support.
Students were mentored during their Challenges by ‘Dragons’ from local businesses. On the Awards night, the teams of Apprentices presented their business ideas and the story of how they raised the money for their charity/community group, including what they learnt from the challenge and the skills they developed while working on the project. This was followed by a question and answer session by the ‘SuperDragons’.
Alongside Michael McGrath, the judging team of SuperDragons included John Geisen, Chief Executive of B3Living, Andy Forbes, Principal of Hertford Regional College and Justine Perry, MD of Cariad Marketing Ltd.
Michael said: “This was an excellent platform for young people to directly experience the challenges of leadership, identifying roles and making decisions as part of a team, problem solving and also learning about the needs of and engaging with local charities. It also gave them a taste of what can be achieved when you really put your mind to it, something that personally resonated – underpinned by an entrepreneurial spirit, I particularly liked the charity focus and how teams not only engaged with those that need support in our community but the evident learnings that come from participating in such a Challenge.”
The MHF charity offers inspiration and empowerment to all children and young people in the UK, who are suffering from the muscle-wasting disease Muscular Dystrophy (MD) and allied neuromuscular diseases. They bring together children, young people and their families, creating communities through transformational events, networks and activities. Through their Muscle Dream events, they help their beneficiaries to fulfil their potential, giving them a sense of purpose, often increased confidence, self-esteem and more hope for the future.
Michael McGrath, himself diagnosed with MD at the age of 18yrs, is a consultant and inspiring business speaker. He is the first disabled person in the world to have successfully led expeditions to both the North and South Poles.
Broxbourne and East Herts CVS Chief Executive Ian Richardson said: “The Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge is unique because it links local young people, schools, businesses and charitable organisations together in a partnership where everybody wins. The CVS exists to build the capacity of the voluntary sector and this project again demonstrates our ability to create innovative ways of achieving great outcomes.”
About the CVS for Broxbourne & East Herts – www.cvsbeh.org.uk
Now located in new offices in Stanstead Abbotts, the organisation undertakes a diverse range of activities to develop, enhance and empower voluntary and community groups to effectively serve communities
About The Muscle Help Foundation, Muscle Dreams and Muscle Warriors – www.musclehelp.com
The charity was co-founded by Michael McGrath (aka Chief Muscle Warrior), who is the CEO. Muscle Dreams are highly personalised, transformational experiences for children and young people in the UK whose lives are afflicted by the muscle-wasting disease, Muscular Dystrophy (MD) and allied neuromuscular diseases.