Dragons descend on award-winning charities

A team of dragons visited two Scarborough charities which they had awarded £12,000.

Art Therapy Yorkshire won £5,000 and Community Furniture Stores won £7,000 at an event in the style of TV’s Dragon’s Den.

Along with three other charities, they were judged by a team of wealthy entrepreneurs, none of whom breathed fire.

The money raised on the evening, about £28,000, came mainly from the Dragons who bought their seats. The sum included match funding from the York-based Two Ridings Community Foundation, which organised the event.

The High Sheriff’s Dragon’s Den, at Settrington in October, was hosted by the high sheriff of North Yorkshire. Chris Legard of Scampston Hall near Rillington is the Queen's representative in the county’s legal community and supports the judiciary, emergency services and voluntary services in their work.

He was accompanied on his Scarborough trip by the foundation’s chief executive Jan Garrill; the vice lord-lieutenant of North Yorkshire, Peter Scrope; Frances Dodd, whose late husband Barry was lord lieutenant of North Yorkshire until his death in a helicopter crash in May last year; and other dragons.

Mr Legard told the Review: “A common thread running through both charities was the extraordinary amount they achieve and the enormous help they give to people who are in need, on the back of very limited resources. This is only possible because of the commitment of staff and the help they receive from volunteers. They are excellent examples of wonderful local charities who make a real difference to many people in the local community”.

Art Therapy Yorkshire offers an extensive range of creative therapeutic programmes and projects to about 100 clients a year throughout Yorkshire.

It has women’s groups, a new men’s group and mixed groups, with about six people per group, in a safe, confidential and non-judgmental space. The groups and one-to-one work are run by art psychotherapists Sue Holmes, Holly Major, Anne Fawcett and Peter Brown. When the dragons visited, they were joined by trustee Leslie Stones.

“It is long-term, slow work but with positive and lasting results”, says Sue. “Men’s mental health is our focus at the moment”.

The charity moves to a new base at Woodend in the first week of April.

Community Furniture Stores (CFS) in Salisbury Street accepts donations of furniture, appliances and other household items which are suitable for reuse. A wide range of items can be purchased from the Stores’ warehouse, which is open to everyone. Over the years, thousands of local households have been helped to furnish their homes at low cost.

Items are tested, repaired and upcycled in a workshop which specialises in re-upholstery. The workshop provides training, work experience and wellbeing programmes for people who are long-term unemployed or who face barriers to employment such as a disability or an offending history. Programmes are designed to suit individual needs and are overseen by suitably qualified staff or volunteers.