Being a dragon for the national citizen service

Last week, I was fortunate to again take part in a project run by National Citizens Service programme, called Pitch Perfect. This time I was judging the final presentations as groups of young people presented their ideas in a Dragons’ Den style format, each aiming to be awarded funds to deliver the campaigns that they had conceived. After we had hosted a visit from a group the previous week I was really looking forward to seeing the final, polished product.

My fellow dragons were Joe Barratt, the co-founder of Stockport Teenage Market and Stockport Councillor Wendy Meikle. Together we had to decide which of the groups we deemed worthy of receiving £50 funding based on their ideas, planning and the quality of the presentation.

The teams did not disappoint, we were all genuinely impressed by their ideas and the enthusiasm and skills they demonstrated delivering their proposals.

I had intended to play the nice guy role but I have to admit to unleashing my inner Bannatyne and giving some of the groups a bit of a grilling about their budgets, objectives and metrics. They responded pretty well though, so I didn’t feel too guilty afterwards.

If I’m honest, I had a great time. As judges, we thought the young people did a tremendous job and all deserved their £50 investment.

In the end competition was fierce and “Team Reiss”, who had received mentoring and coaching from a local drama group, secured the extra investment for their idea increasing awareness for Walthew House, a charity that supports Stockport people who are blind, visually impaired, deaf or hard of hearing. Their pitch included a rather impressive rebrand including a logo and new key brand  messages.

NCS helps young people gain new skills whilst connecting with their local communities and helping out some really worthy local charities. I would like to thank all of the students for their time and effort in preparing for the event and for taking part in a scheme to better themselves and their community when they could just be lazing about enjoying their summer break! There are more activities planned for later in the summer. Follow @NCSNorthwest for more information.

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