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A-level students take on Hertfordshire dragons

A team of A-level students from Hertford, sponsored by Network Homes, have quadrupled their money for charity in the annual Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge, and scooped an award for best managed project.

The business based challenge, which is organised by the Community Voluntary Services for Broxbourne and East Herts, takes place across schools in the area and teams have to turn £100 into more money for their designated charity or community group.

Team ‘Fresh Start’ from Richard Hale School in Hertford, comprised of four year 12s who are all studying a business related A-level. They were mentored by a ‘Dragon’ from Network Homes – Suzan Lankester - who provided ongoing support and guidance. Their assigned charity was Future Living which offers a valuable support service to those suffering from addiction and their families.

The Fresh Start team put on a variety of events to make money including selling Krispy Kreme doughnuts and arranging a ‘Kick it week’, where they encouraged other students to give up something they use everyday and donate the amount they would have spent on it to Future Living . They also organised a two day dodgeball tournament for year seven and eights and put fundraising pots at Broxbourne Hockey Club.

Fresh Start raised over £400 since October and plan to raise more money for Future Living with more events. They also plan to collect Easter eggs for the charity to distribute.

Not only is the challenge a great way to raise money for local charities, but it also provides students with an invaluable experience of what it’s like to run a business. Team leader, Matt Rudd said: “The Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge has taught me many things including how to speak well to clients and how to speak at different meetings - whether that’s with our Dragon, Susan Lankester from Network Homes, or Sandra Conte, Chief Executive of Future Living. We hope we can use these skills in future with other businesses so we can further understand what it’s like to be in business.”

Each of the six short-listed teams presented what they have done over the last six months with their initial £100 and what they have learnt to four ‘Super Dragons’ at the final event at the Spotlight in Hoddesdon on Monday 27 March. They then answered questions from the Super Dragons.

Various awards were given out with categories including best poster, most money raised and an award for the overall winner. The Network Homes sponsored team, Fresh Start, won the award for the best managed project.

Paul Huckstep, Network Homes’ Regional Director said: “We are delighted to have sponsored the Fresh Start team from Richard Hale School.  It’s fantastic that they have raised so much money for Future Living through all their hard work.”

Susan Lankester, the Network Homes’ Dragon, said: “It was a fantastic achievement for the team, and great for Network Homes to be involved for the first time in this exciting project. The boys grew in skills and confidence as the challenge progressed, and it was lovely to see their confidence grow and develop. I hope that Network Homes will continue to be involved with this great initiative, and look forward to working with new teams and charities in the 2017-18 challenge.”