School pupils across North and Mid Wales have raised more than £100,000 for us by taking part in our Dragons’ Lair Challenge.

The Welsh Baccalaureate-accredited scheme not only helps to raise money to support seriously ill local children but also helps students across the region to use creativity and teamwork, enhance enterprise and employability skills as well as counting towards their qualification.

Small groups of Year 10 pupils are given the opportunity to create a fundraising idea to grow £10 into vital funds for Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith and then pitch their idea to a panel of local business dragons.

If they win the investment, the pupils use their skills to grow the money and since being introduced in 2015, students from over 20 education settings have raised more than £100,000.

A highlight of the school year

Helen Savva, Welsh Baccalaureate Lead and Deputy Head at Ysgol Rhiwabon, who have been engaged with the challenge for a number of years, said: “Our students really flourish during the Skills Challenge and their confidence levels grow significantly as a result of this unique opportunity to present and pitch. It’s a real highlight for our Year 10s combined with the chance to support our community.”

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Katie Smith, Skills Co-ordinator at Darland High School, which is taking part for the first time this year, said: “The Dragons’ Lair is an engaging and highly motivational challenge that our students are thoroughly enjoying completing. We have already noticed a significant improvement in the quality of their work and feel that is without a doubt due to the connection with the charity and the opportunity to present to a panel of Dragons.

“They are developing essential employability skills through relevant, real-life situations and the fundraising element of the challenge has given the students even greater motivation.”

Other schools that have taken part in the challenge recently include Ysgol Clywedog, Ysgol Bryn Alyn, Ysgol Dinas Bran, Ysgol Rhosnesni, Ysgol Bodedern, Castell Alun, Rydal Penrhos, Ygsol Bryn Elian, Ysgol y Creuddyn and St Joseph’s Catholic High School.

The challenge is only possible thanks to the local business leaders across all industries who offer expert advice on how to make their ideas blossom into amazing fundraising schemes. In addition this year, the Principality Building Society has decided to sponsor the programme as they were impressed with the opportunity to support young people develop financial skills.

Inspiring ideas

Martin Williams from Radar PR, a regular Dragon in the lair, said: “The ingenuity and imagination of the students never fails to amaze me. I am frequently blown away by the variety of ideas, the effort of the groups and their dedication to raising as much money for the charity as possible.

"Always inspiring, it’s an honour to be a Dragon and I look forward to being one again in the future.”

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Our fundraiser Cat said: “The team at Hope House and Tŷ Gobaith thoroughly enjoy working alongside schools in the Dragons’ Lair. Over the years, we have seen some incredible performances, some inspirational ideas and heard some amazing success stories from students who have discovered a real flair for enterprise.

“It’s also a really simple way for local businesses to support both our hospices and the students at the same time. The opportunity to share life skills and experiences is invaluable and the Year 10s benefit immensely from this challenge. We are thrilled to achieve this milestone and cannot thank all the schools, colleges, teachers and dragons for wanting to be there for the children we care for.”