Members of the winning group - Honiton Youth club - pitching to the 'dragons'

Charity representatives pitch their ideas to panel of ‘dragons’

A panel of four ‘dragons’ put eight local charitable group representatives through their paces on Tuesday 27 October, at the Beehive in Honiton, in Honiton Together informal version of the BBC’s hit Dragon’s Den  programme.

The groups pitched for funding in front of an audience of over 30 people, comprising local voluntary and social sector organizations, social enterprises and charities, as well as town, county and district councillors, including East Devon District Council leader, Councillor Paul Diviani.

The ‘Dragon’s Den’ was organised by Honiton Together, a collaborative community development programme run by a partnership consisting of:  East Devon District Council, Devon County Council and East Devon Volunteer Support Agency.

Community Development Worker Alex Gibson organized the event on behalf of East Devon District Council  (the lead partner in this community initiative), together with Ali Eastland, Locality Officer at Devon County Council and Hannah Reynolds, Development Worker with the East Devon Volunteer Support Agency. The aim of Honiton Together is to open doors to funders, commissioners and decision makers, share great grassroots projects and innovative thinking and run inspiring networking events. 

‘Dragons’ panel

The ‘dragons’ judging panel consisted of Devon County Councillor Sara Randall-Johnson, Big Lottery’s Jenny Fish, Devon County Council Policy Advisor Dave Slocombe and Greg Page-Turner from the Federation of Small Businesses.

Local groups pitching to the ‘dragons’

Each local group answered questions about their project and had to explain how it would benefit people living in Honiton.

Everyone’s a winner

The eight groups who pitched to the ‘dragons’ all received the full amount of funding that they pitched for:

  • First place: Honiton Youth Club asked for funding for a portable ramp to make all of the Community Use Building accessible. One of the wheelchair bound young people who would benefit from this was part of the pitching group and he clearly won over the hearts of the audience. Funding award: £750
  • Second place: Axe Valley Visiting Scheme delivered a moving pitch, which showed how people suffering from dementia can find comfort and meaning in singing and ‘story-board’ work. They pledged to show a film ‘alive inside’ to a Honiton audience to raise awareness of this. Funding award: £750
  • Third place: HALFF, which stands for Health and Local Food for Families talked about the rise in childhood obesity – especially prevalent in low-income families - and also the missed opportunity for ‘family time’ when families don’t eat together. Funding award: £750
  • Honiton Netball Club, which has grown since it started in 2011 to 80 young people who meet throughout winter to train in all weathers. Funding award: £350
  • Honiton Youth Orchestra demonstrated some beautiful recordings, and asked for money to enable musicians from lower income families to attend a residential weekend of practice and performance. Funding award: £750
  • The Beehive (Honiton Community Complex)itself asked for funding for microphones to enable the amateur music and drama groups who use the centre to work on a more professional level. Funding award: £680
  • East Devon Volunteer Support Agency put in a bid for a digital ‘tablet’ for their volunteer advisor, who meets prospective volunteers in locations across Honiton. This would enable the advisor to share up to date opportunities and would enable them to dispense with their current paper based system. Funding award: £450
  • Hands on Horticulture are a new social enterprise who asked for funding to equip their first four volunteers with all the kit needed to deliver their winter work programme and to get a site at Royston Farm, Talewater, ready for wheelchair users. Funding award: £750

Councillor Paul Diviani and Devon County Councillor Councillor Sara Randall-Johnson, whose locality budgets contributed to the funding pot, are supportive of the event running again next year.

Commenting on the Dragon’s Den event, Councillor Paul Diviani said:

It was wonderful to hear directly from these local groups who will be working hard to spend this money in a truly charitable way. The idea behind Honiton Together was for local organizations across Honiton to collaborate and support each other, as well as inspire positive local action. If in this way better solutions are developed for these issues, so much the better. I am delighted that everyone who pitched has received funding.

Councillor Sara Randall-Johnson, said:

I am pleased that this important initiative has run for a second year, and I would like to see it continue with the wider support from the local community, including Honiton Town Council.