Andrew’s Blog: Hebe Foundation ‘Dragons Den’

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On the 11 August 2022, I had the pleasure of being a ‘Dragon’ for the Hebe Foundations’ Junior Apprentice Dragons Den alongside Heather Smith, Tom Worrall, John Mansley, Kaye Symons and Gloria Folarin. 

On the day we were asked to judge four teams' life experiences, the skills they've acquired throughout, and why those are valuable and important for the labour market in general and to LV= specifically.

We saw great presentations from all the teams in Croydon, covering topics such as:

  • Road safety
  • The role of team sports in decision making
  • Creativity
  • Desired superpowers
  • Time management and adaptability
  • Experiences of racism
  • How to stay focussed
  • The role of food in bringing people together

After these presentations, the Dragons crowned the ‘Golden Warriors’ as Champions. Their focus on the role of leadership in decision making, how they've learnt the power of communication, their time and stress management through team sports, their creative problem solving and their overall collaboration was felt by the judges to have met the brief the best. 

It was great to be exposed to the work of the Hebe Foundation, and, in their own words, it helped them to stay focussed over the summer prevented boredom and grew their confidence. 

Why did you sign up to be a volunteer?

I joined LV= in October last year. In my previous roles, whilst there has been a commitment to volunteering, getting time off to do so was always very difficult. Since joining LV=, I’ve been really encouraged by the approach to volunteering and how well supported it is. So, after years of promising myself I would do something but there always being an excuse, I finally got the chance to do something! The opportunity with Hebe felt like it would be a fun and rewarding opportunity. 

How did your first session go? / How did it make you feel? 

It was great to see colleagues from across the business giving their time to the Hebe Foundation. After a sharp elbow to the ribs from Heather, I found myself as 'head dragon’. The session was really well put together by the volunteering team and you could tell from the effort of the teams and the smiles on their mentors faces, that they really enjoyed it. It was a really rewarding way to spend an afternoon and after the stories of road safety, I made sure I cycled home extra safe (with the super power of bravery at the front of my mind). 

What do you think you gained by being a volunteer?

I found the whole experience really energising. The kids had obviously put a lot of time and effort into their presentations and with the support of their mentors within LV=, you could see they wanted to do their best. I came away with admiration for the kids, the effort they['d put in and their willingness to share their experiences. It was also great to see another side of colleagues. 

Would you recommend the volunteering experience to others? / What would you say to those thinking about volunteering?

The simple answer is just to do it! As I said, I’ve always had an excuse and so it was great to be able to walk into something with the team that had been so well put together and to give something back.