GivingHere is the latest Connect Dacorum Opportunities List for your consideration. If you can help with any of the below, have any of the items or money to pay for them, then please come back to me initially for more information.

If you have any items that are not listed below but you do not need anymore and would like to give to charity, please let me know. 

  • Gaddesden Place Riding for the Disabled needs a White Board and an office scanner/printer
  • Dacorum Heritage Trust need to clear out their Reception Bay at The Museum Store in Berkhamsted and they need some manpower. Their requirements are for 2 or 3 people to help with moderate lifting, owing to limited space we would not be able to have more than 3 at any time.  We plan to do this on a week day in June if at all possible.
  • West Herts and Bucks Sands is looking for volunteers to help maintain the Memorial Garden in Gadebridge Park. The garden is jointly run by Sands and DBC but relies on volunteers for the upkeep. Contact details are This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07583 324157.
  • Sunnyside Rural Trust are looking for cooking items as they have just installed a cooker at Hemel Food Garden which will be used by their trainees.  Any pans, mixing bowls, chopping boards, knives, tea towels, utensils, baking tins, casserole dishes, aprons, oven gloves, preserving pan etc would be very welcome.
  • An Introduction to Excel Formulas & Analysing Data with Excel Pivot Tables Subsidised Workshops by Dacorum Borough Council

   Wednesday 17th June 2015, 9.30am – 12.30pm

   Wednesday 17th June 2015, 13.30pm – 16.30pm

   Maylands Business Centre, Redbourn Road, Hemel Hempstead, HP2 7ES

   Cost:  £45+VAT each

An Introduction to Excel Formulas is designed for those delegates who want to learn how to automate their spreadsheet by the use of formulas.

Analysing Data with Excel Pivot Tables is designed for those delegates who wish to understand how to analyse and present their data more efficiently using Excel Pivot Tables.

(These workshops can be attended separately or together as they are interdependent)

To book your place, please contact 01442 531002 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

  • The Hospice Lottery are looking for any corporate businesses or individuals a chance to request taking a few books of ‘Superdraw’ tickets to share with colleagues, family and friends. The draw takes place on 27th June at the Tring Carnival, so all ticket stubs and money would need to be returned ideally by 20th June.  If anyone is interested, could they email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or alternatively click on the link below!  1st prize is £5,000, with 2 main runners up prizes, Champneys Essentials Spa day and afternoon tea at Waddesdon Manor buy your tickets now!

Longdean 2015 1 smallTwo Hundred Year 10 pupils from Longdean School in Hemel Hempstead took part in an Employability Skills day on Thursday 7th May organised and run by Connect Dacorum.  The pupils were in groups of 8 and each group had a facilitator from local businesses who had given up their morning to help the children with CV writing and interview skills.

All students were in the halls which instantly created a buzz. The event was interactive for the pupils – interviewing their facilitators, putting themselves in the mind of an employer looking at CVs for a new trainee graphic designer and critiquing them before moving on to looking in more detail at their own CVs and giving advice.  The second session concentrated on interview skills with mock interviews and also a fun “speed interviewing” game. The pupils came away with lot of helpful feedback and advice directly from employers about what they look for in a CV, covering letter and throughout the interview process.

Cindy Withey, Manager of Connect Dacorum praised the pupils and facilitators for a great day “this is the second year Connect Dacorum has organised this at Longdean School and it is great to see how much both the pupils and facilitators get out of the experience”.

The pupils also completed a feedback sheet at the end of the day with all of them of them saying that it was really helpful.  One wrote “I found out the key points of how to be employed and what is needed in your CV. And interviews, always prepare for an interview and think about what employers are looking for”.  Another said “I have found out how to sell yourself, make known all your qualities and things to do and not to do when attending an interview. Also how to enhance our CVs”.

The facilitators came from a wide variety of backgrounds and businesses (full list see below), all willing to give up their time to help shape the future generation and pass on valuable advice. 

Hannah Bailey from Osborne said ““Osborne were delighted to spend the day with students from Longdean school. It was inspiring to see how enthusiastic and engaged they were in discussing their options after education. It goes to show the impact it can have when schools and businesses work together.”

“Machins Solicitors thoroughly enjoyed taking part in what was a very rewarding day with an engaging and dynamic group of students” said Abi Palmer,Marketing Manager at Machins Solicitors who sent along two of their trainee solicitors.

This programme is also being held on the 29th and 30th June at Hemel Hempstead School. If there are any businesses who would like their staff to be involved and become a facilitator for these events in future please contact Cindy Withey at Connect Dacorum on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Alex Deller-Rust – Machins Solicitors

Alistair Budd – retired HR director

Amanda Winder – Strive Development

Anne Lean – Warner Bros Studios, Levesden

Annie Smith – The Hospice Lottery

Ayesha Hafiz – Britvic

Barbara Hancock – DENS charity

Cara Wright – self employed

Caroline Evans – Hemel Hempstead Old Town Hall

Cindy Deacon - UKTD

Dave Moore – Dacorum Borough Council

Devi Raghwani – Job Centre Plus

Frances Swan – Job Centre Plus

Gordon Dickens – The Tutor Doctor

Hannah Bailey - Osborrne

John Champion – EML Retail Display

Karen Gosen – Gaddesden Place Riding for the Disabled

Linda Oatley – The Centre in the Park

Lorna Chiverton-Hunt – Youth Coach

Maggie Grand – Sunnyside Rural Trust

Maria McKenna - Osborne

Olivia Llewellyn -  Machins Solicitors

Simon Redlich – Audit Bureau of Circulations

Simon Stillman – Life Coach

Steve Coulam – Holiday Inn Hemel Hempstead

Sue Prowse - Dacorum Borough Council

Tania Barney - Sensoria

Tony Munday – TM Development Associates

longdean1Over the past couple of weeks I have briefed nearly everyone who has volunteered to take part in the Employability Days at Longdean and Hemel Hempstead Schools.

Next Thursday (election day) sees 30 volunteers from different businesses give up their mornings to help 200 year 10 students at Longdean School with CV writing and interview techniques. 

Hemel Hempstead School are running their Employability Days on the 29th and 30th June.

Many thanks to all our wonderful volunteers for giving up their time. Update on how the day went will be posted.


Volunteering 2






 The greatest asset in most businesses is its workforce. Encouraging staff to volunteer their time and skills can benefit them, the community and your company in many ways. As well as creating an effective resource for charities, it provides a sense of fulfilment to employees and allows them to hone their skills in new and challenging situations.

Whether you want to support education, employability, homelessness or health programmes, build the capacity of local community groups or charities, we can help you engage your employees in successful projects with real impact.

Adeyfield winnerDacorum students raise over £7,000 for local charities in Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge


Winners of 2014/15 Challenge announced after budding entrepreneurs pitch to SuperDragons at Shendish Manor finals

23rd March 2015 – Gaddesden Dragons from Adeyfield School has been proclaimed the overall winner of the 3rd  annual Dacorum Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge. The team was one of six, shortlisted from local schools invited to present to the SuperDragons - leaders from the world of business, education, local government and charity - at this week’s Challenge Finals at Shendish Manor Hotel.

The teenage tycoons in waiting who stepped up to tackle a charity challenge were showered with praise on Monday night.

Competing teams from Dacorum secondary schools were supplied with £100 stake and challenged to turn it into £1,000 or more, with support and advice from mentors within the borough’s business community.

Cllr Allan Lawson, Mayor of Dacorum, presented the awards and inspired the audience of young people, businesses and charities by emphasising the ‘practical’ value of the Dragons’ Apprentice Challenge. Presentations at the finals night at Shendish Manor revealed the wealth of business lessons learned by the Year 12 pupils as they staged everything from cake sales and craft fairs to offering a ride in a Ferrari to hit their daunting targets.

Named as overall winners on the night were the team from Adeyfield School, who scooped a Snow Centre session and Tea & Cakes at Shendish Manor Hotel for their efforts in support of Gaddesden Riding for the Disabled charity.

Other winners were

Gaddesden Dragons from Adeyfield School for Most Money Earned, prize of Tea and Cakes from Shendish Manor Hotel

Team Flash at JFK School for Most Innovated Business Idea, prize of a meal from Nandos Restaurant in Jarman Park

Cooke’s Angels from Longdean School for Close Co-operation with your Charity, prize of a case of J2O’s for each team member from Britvic

New Beginnings from Tring School for Best Display, prize of a voucher towards a drinks and cakes from Costa Coffee

Cooke’s Angels from Longdean School for Best Presentation, prize of a training session at the Radio Dacorum studios

The Challenge is being run simultaneously across Hertfordshire with a total of 69 teams registering from 30 different schools in

Broxbourne & East Herts


North Herts and Stevenage

St Albans

Watford and Three Rivers

Welwyn & Hatfield

So that is 69 Dragons and 69 different charities too.  Broxbourne and North Herts are also having their Finals Evening tonight, with the others later this week.

As they celebrated their success the teenagers all agreed that the Dacorum Dragons Apprentice Challenge – now in it’s third year – was both a lot more work than they had ever realised but a test that both developed their skills and gave them a chance to get involved in their community.