‘That was a great start – but now we want to grow’

Organisers of a new charity challenge for sixth form students at Dacorum schools hope that interest in the project will mushroom this year.

The inaugural Dacorum’s Dragons’ Apprentice scheme came to a climax last month at Shendish Manor, when prizes were presented to top teams from Hemel Hempstead, Cavendish, Tring and Kings Langley schools.

Jeoff Colls, Connect Dacorum

Jeoff Colls, Connect Dacorum

Each was matched with a charity by organisers Connect Dacorum, given support from a business mentor and given the task of turning £100 into £1,000 in six months.

Students who reported back on their experiences admitted that they hadn’t appreciated what they were getting into, but all stressed that they’d learned a huge amount and grown in confidence because of the experience.

The Shendish Manor audience heard from David Gaze, who was involved in setting up a similar scheme in St Albans four years ago.

Now the model is spreading across Herts, with 50 teams from 30 schools involved this year.

He praised the Dacorum pilot as ‘hugely impressive’ and added: “You have made one hell of a start.”

Connect Dacorum’s Jeoff Colls confirmed that every secondary school in the borough will have a chance to be involved in the second year of the scheme. Projects will get under way in October.

See our report from the finals night at Shendish Manor here