Students take part in Dragons' Apprentice

PUBLISHED: 16:34 04 January 2012 | UPDATED: 20:51 20 February 2013

Meet the team

Meet the team

Students across St Albans, Harpenden and Hatfield are putting their business skills to the test in the fiercely-fought Dragons' Apprentice...

IF youve ever seen the T-Mobile flashmobs on television and wanted to give it a go, or wanted to take part in a Strictly-style event of glamour and dance, then now is your chance.

Thanks to the fundraising business scheme that is The Dragons Apprentice, a team of A-level students from Onslow St Audreys School in Hatfield are organising some unique events.

Team Identity Tammy Mills, Abbie Yeates, Charlie Jay, Amy Ellis-Hall are being led in the competition by their mentor Natalie Cumming, a Google AdWords Consultant for Google advertising company, My Mustard.

Natalie says, I was honoured to be asked to be part of Dragons Apprentice. It has been extremely rewarding and also challenging managing the project.

When I met my team I was amazed at how enthusiastic they were and how much they were looking forward to the challenge. Im not sure who was more excited them or me!

So what is Dragons Apprentice? The annual challenge is organised by Connect St Albans and runs from September to March, bringing together lower 6th form students from schools and colleges in St Albans, Harpenden and Hatfield with business mentors, or dragons.

Teams of students or apprentices are set the challenge to turn 100 into 1,000 for a local charity in any way they choose as long as they prepare a clear business plan to reach their target.

The dragons offer advice and access to resources, with all profits going directly to their allocated charity. At the awards event in March a panel of judges will evaluate each team and announce the results.

Team Identity, which has gained the support of Welwyn MP Grant Shapps, has been paired with Welwyn-based charity Resolve, which helps people with drug and alcohol problems.

Natalie explains, We want to make people aware of Resolves identity, hence our team name. This is a local charity for local people run by dedicated local volunteers and we aim to educate, inform and engage people from all areas of our community.

The teams main event is a Dance-a-thon at Resolves venue in Welwyn Garden City with six dance sessions taking place. But if you dont want to dance, you can still go along to offer support to family and friends.

Natalie adds, The event will bring all ages and abilities within the community together to promote fun, health and well-being, values in line with Resolves programme and values.

The other main event is the flashmob which is being held on January 7 at The Howard Shopping Centre in Welwyn Garden City. The free event aims to raise awareness for Resolve and publicity for the dance-a-thon.

Team Identity have also been holding cake sales and sourcing raffle prizes to boost their funds.


The dance-a-thon takes place on Saturday, January 21, from 2pm at Woodhall Community Centre in Welwyn Garden City, with sessions of ballroom, zumba, aerobics, street dance, jive and lindy hop. Pre-order tickets at 5 to take part in one session or 20 for all six. Family and friends are welcome to come along to watch, for a small fee, and there will be tea and cakes for sale plus the raffle. Contact Natalie Cumming on 07921174526 or email, or visit

To take part in the flashmob, simply turn up at the Howard Shopping Centre in Welwyn on January 7 at 1pm to learn some basic moves and then get ready to perform at 2pm.


Tammy Mills, 17, fundraiser

I am enjoying working with the business and charity as it gives me more education of other peoples lives. We hope the dance-a-thon is a success.

Abbie Yeates, 16, team leader

I hope we can make our dance-a-thon triumphant, as we can bring the entire community together and get everyone involved.

Charlie Jay, 16, promotions & PR

I am enjoying helping Resolve raise money for their charity and am grateful to My Mustard for giving us 100 to raise 1,000 for the charity.

Amy Ellis-Hall, 17, dance organiser

We have come up with some superb fundraising ideas to help raise money for Resolve. I cant wait for the events to help raise as much money as possible.


My name is Joe Heeney and I now manage Resolve. We have a team of amazing professionals who volunteer their services allowing us to put all the money we currently raise into delivering the service as effectively as we can.

Resolve opened its door on 8th April 2008. Three of us started with a 500 set-up grant from the Hertfordshire Community Foundation, 500 from the local John Lewis and just three service users. We offered just three one-and-a-half hour sessions per week on Monday, Thursday and Friday.

And so how did I come to be doing this? For 14 years I was a firefighter. I have many friends who drank heavily, many are former military services and we worked hard, so we unwound as a group. Even though all around me were drinking a lot it was not obvious to me that I drank even more.

In 2000 I eventually understood that my only option was to stop drinking. My life changed, I got fit again, relationships improved, I re-married and my life got right back on track.

I left the Fire Service in 2002 but worked in the Trade Union movement, representing Merchant Navy Officers, and my work took me all over Britain and northern Europe. Once again the spectre of alcohol and some other substances raised their head but this time it was much worse. It took me some time to sort myself out and a stay in Devon to rehabilitate was what I eventually needed to get my life back.

Resolve is now in its fourth year of delivering service and operates five days a week, working ever harder on securing the funds to keep it running., 01707 690739

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