Jack Petchey Foundation
If you think you can, you can!

Essex youth 'Face the Challenge'

Young people win ‘Dragon’s Den’ grants for community projects

Five youth groups from Basildon and Harlow won grants on Thursday 8th May in the final of our ‘Dragon’s Den’ style competition, Face the Challenge.

The teams reached the final after an application process that included attending a specialist boot camp where they received public speaking training from Speaker’s Trust mentor Kimberly Andrew. In the final the groups were required to pitch to a panel of judges including Editor of the Harlow Star Ken Morley, Chief Reporter of the Basildon Echo Caroline Tilley and CEO of the Jack Petchey Foundation Trudy Kilcullen.

Maru Karate Kai were awarded £1,500 by the ‘Dragons’ towards a confidence building project for Year 7 students upon joining secondary school. They will run workshops in schools and use confidence building exercises and expert advice from their karate tutors to deliver the project.

13 year old Ryan Chandler said, “We want to increase the confidence levels in young people to enable them to get to where they want to be. I know when I joined secondary school I was very shy, and this kind of programme will help young people adapt to the changes of moving schools.”

Basildon Youth Council were awarded £2,000 to deliver their Cyber-Stop project to drive awareness and provide support for victims of cyber-bullying. They will create informative literature and a music video to spread awareness about the serious nature of the issue, and encourage young people to fight against it.

1st Kingsmoor Harlow Scouts were awarded £2,000 to develop their information technology skills and undertake their photography and technology badges at the unit, using the funds to purchase new equipment and training.

Phoenix Theatre School, whose entertaining theatrical pitch earned them the ‘Best Presentation’ on the night, were presented with £2,000 towards their Phoenix Youth Repertory Company. The project will offer performance, technical and directing opportunities for young people in up to four performances a year for schoolchildren in the Harlow area.

16 year old Daniel Boulton said “There is no free provision like this for young people in Essex. We want to reduce stereotypes about drama among young people, and offer them the chance to get involved in the performing arts. The Face the Challenge grant will go a long way to help us to achieve our goal.”

Inclusive performing arts company Razed Roof were granted £1600 for their ‘Love the Planet’ project that combines theatrical opportunities with driving awareness about environmental issues. They will conduct workshops in a number of schools in Essex to engage with young people about climate change through the medium of drama.

18 year old Stephanie Wright said, “We want to spread awareness about climate change in an enjoyable way. Being in Razed Roof can turn a bad day good – there is never a dull moment!”

As well as receiving funding, the groups will also be given guidance on how best to run their projects from the Jack Petchey Foundation.

CEO of the Jack Petchey Foundation Trudy Kilcullen said, “I was really impressed with the confidence of the presenters and the way the young people conducted themselves and answered questions in what was a challenging competition. We are delighted to support these groups on their various projects, and look forward to following their progress over the coming months.”

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Razed Roof Harlow


1st Kingsmoor Scouts Harlow


Basildon Youth Service


Maru Karate Kai


Pheonix Theatre School