RLSS Avon & North Wiltshire recently held their very own Dragons Den and invited local lifesavers to come along and pitch their project ideas to be in with the chance of securing funding. David Fielding Branch Chair of RLSS Avon & North Wiltshire has written the below blog entry telling us the ideas pitched and who the successful entrepreneurs were!

Lifesavers walked away with REAL CASH when Dragon’s Den came to the Avon and North Wiltshire Branch AGM!

Despite repeated appeals the Avon & North Wiltshire branch had only received three grant applications in the last year, so the Branch management committee came up with a novel idea to inspire local lifesavers to spread the society’s water-safety message.

Budding “entrepreneurs” were invited to pitch their ideas for a lifesaving project to our team of Dragons: Ellen Moore (RLSS UK Volunteer Engagement Officer), Marc Pearce (Avon & North Wiltshire Treasurer) and Alice Charteris (Avon & North Wiltshire Safeguarding Officer). After a three-minute pitch, the Dragons subjected the entrepreneurs to detailed questioning to ensure that their project proposals were sound. Successful bids secured the money required for their project and, more importantly, the support of their chosen Dragon to help them successfully deliver their project. Set to a backdrop of music from the hit TV show, the Dragon’s Den activity proved a real hit with participants and the AGM audience alike!

Successful bidders included Chris Ward, who secured nearly £250 for Bath University Lifesaving Club to run a series of Save a Baby’s Life Courses for the local community. Bristol University Lifesaving Club secured £60 to build a set of 8 swimming obstacles (and access to the Branch Chairman’s workshop to manufacture the obstacles)! The Dragons liked Bradford on Avon Lifesaving Club’s plans to run a first-aid competition, and offered to support the club in producing detailed plans to support their bid for funding.

Not everyone was successful in the Den – Alan Hall from Keynsham LSC left empty-handed when the Dragons decided that Keynsham Life Saving Club’s plans for a summer water-safety campaign were not yet detailed enough to secure funding. The Dragons did agree to help the club mature their plans, and promised to put Alan in touch with the Drowning Prevention Week 2014 team.

Alex Blandford pitches the Bristol Uni LSC project to build 8 swimming gates to the A&NW Dragons

Back Row: (Left to Right): Kieran Bradley (Bristol Uni), Chris Ward (Bath Uni), Kevin Hands (Bradford on Avon)
Middle Row: (Left to Right): Alice Charteris, Marc Pearce, Ellen Moore, Alex Blandford (Bristol Uni)
Front Row: Alan Hall (Keynsham LSC)