Caritas Schools Dragons' Den Event 2018
27th March 2018
The 2018 Dragons' Den event for schools in the Diocese took place at St Bede's on Thursday 22nd March. Six schools took part, bidding for a share of a £2,500 investment fund. Each school presented a charitable project designed to benefit their local community and give both students and staff a practical way of expressing their faith. Each bid had to show clear links to the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, have clear benefits to those in need, be sustainable and clearly costed.
Four primary schools took part and two secondary schools from as far afield as Bournemouth, Fareham, Andover and Reading. Bishop Challoner school in Basingstoke took part for a record third time and for the first time, children from a reception class (St Walburga's) took part and charmed the panel into supporting their bid!
Projects included using music to help those with dementia, visiting a nursing home for activities with the elderly, delivering basic essentials to the homeless, developing a mobile prayer labyrinth and designing and building prayer gardens. The presentations were all done by the students using slides, videos, pictures and handouts to get their message across. Several schools had taken up the offer of a mentor from the Catenians to help plan their project and prepare for the presentations.
The Dragons were Bishop Philip, Kevin Gallagher (Director of Caritas), Edmund Adamus (Diocesan Schools Commissioner) and Roger Lillie (Provincial Director of the Catenians). They gave a lot of encouragement to the students, made lots of helpful suggestions and asked a range of questions to test if the projects had been thought through. The Dragons then had a tough time deciding on the investments but in the end everyone received an award to support their project.
The day also included a look back at last year's projects and how they had turned out. It was great to see pictures showing the results of the hard work by last year's entrants and who had benefitted. The day started and ended with prayer and a blessing from Bishop Philip. Many of the students also took time during the breaks to pray before the blessed sacrament and see the striking tabernacle in St Bede's, designed to represent the "Burning Bush".
The Dragons' Den event was organised by Caritas Diocese of Portsmouth with the support of the Catholic Academies and Schools Office (CASO) and the Catenians. If you think your school might be interested in the 2019 event, please contact Gerry Penfold (email@example.com) for a briefing pack.