NCS Students face the Dragons!

The Dragons! (Left – Right: Barry Kermode, Julia Mckillop, Sir George Young, Ashika Mistry, and Kevin Paterson)

As NCS students from Andover and Basingstoke entered their third week of the four week programme, they had to put their business heads on and think critically to help and promote a charity of their choice. After a full week of planning and fundraising, the five groups of students pitched their ideas to a panel of judges made up of Valley Leisure staff, including CEO Kevin, and a special guest judge, MP Sir George Young in a Dragon’s Den style competition.

“They’ve been working together as a team when they didn’t know each other before the project. The amount of time, energy and enthusiasm during the holidays that they are putting into these projects is great” – Sir George Young, MP

Group 1

Group 1 have been using their newly founded business skills to create a plan alongside the Andover Crisis Support Centre to raise money to enable them to re-do and maintain the house’s garden. The Andover Crisis Centre is a place for women and children to go if they are in need of help and support. As well as offering families with a place to stay, counselling, and support, they also have a garden area which could do with a fix up which is where the NCS students from group one come in. They asked for £70 to be able to turn the garden into a relaxing, beach themed, resort for the families to be able to forget everything for a moment and play. This project is also in conjunction with the Andover Garden Share.

IMG_8540Donate: Andover Crisis Support Centre (

Group 2

With Erica as team leader, Group 2 did a presentation about how they plan to help the charity Sebastian’s Action Trust. Situated at Bluebells house, North Waltham, this charity offers a holiday home for families who have children that are battling with serious illnesses. As well as offering these families a haven away from the hospitals, staff there give practical support in many forms for the children. Group 2 asked for £60 to enable them to buy the products they needed for raising money through a cake sale and an all day car wash event.


Donate: Sebastian’s Action Trust (

Group 3

Group 3 presented their idea of a ‘Battle of the Bands’ style event to the Dragons to raise awareness for their chosen charity the Ark Cancer Centre Charity. Currently, cancer patients must travel between hospitals across Hampshire to receive their chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments; the Ark Cancer Centre Charity aim to raise £5million to enable them to build a unique centre that specialises in cancer treatments. Group 3 have already arranged for the venue, Southampton Arms, and the bands free of charge; the owner of the Southampton Arms has also agreed for the event to have a BBQ, and that 10-15% of the intakes be donated to the charity. To raise more money, Group 3 has also arranged a bag packing stint and a raffle.


Donate: Ark Cancer Centre Charity: Battle of the Bands, Southampton Arms, Andover, 22nd August.

Group 4

Group 4 found their passions lay within the charity 3 Smiles which is based at Andover Leisure Centre. 3 Smiles is a club specifically designed for disabled and additional needs children and their siblings from birth to 19 years old, offering a range of fun activities for all. Through 3 Smiles, 3 hours respite a week for is given to the parents of the children taking part. Group 4 are organising a fun day which is being held at Charlton Lakeside on the 2nd August to raise awareness and money for the charity. As well as a bake sale, and a packing bags stint, the group wish to raise £1000 overall for 3 Smiles.


Donate: 3 Smiles: Fun Day Fundraiser, Saturday 2nd August, 11am – 4pm, Charlton Lakeside, Andover

Group 5

Group 5 have chosen to raise money for the charity DEBRA, a charity that works on behalf of people in the UK who are effected by the skin blistering condition Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). EB is likely to affect 1 in 17,000 live births and it is estimated that there are currently 5,000 people with the condition in the UK. The group have already raised over £500 through using several methods such as online (social media and a Virgin Money account), on foot, and through an interview spot on The Breeze radio station.

“I think it’s been hard but we have all come together and been successful. It has been hard but it’s for a good cause so I think it’s been worth it” – Lara (NCS Student, Group 5)


Donate: DEBRA (

After all groups had presented, the Dragon’s came to the verdict that all of the groups should receive money for their causes, and we wish them the greatest of luck in reaching their targets this week.


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