AN APPRENTICE star said “You’re hired” three times over after being wowed by teenage entrepreneurs.
Three teams from Belmont Community School impressed Melody Hossaini, when she was called in to help judge its boardroom battle.
The Think Cheveley project was launched by Durham bobbies and the Safe Durham Partnership, to inspire the next generation of big thinkers to improve their community.
Hundreds of students took part in a series of “bootcamps” organised by Melody’s company InspirEngage International, a social enterprise and training organisation which helps young people.
The brightest ideas went before a Dragons’ Den-style panel of police, Durham County Council, Belmont Parish Council, Melody’s firm and the then Mayor of Durham, Councillor Les Thompson.
Now a celebration event has been held at Durham’s Ramside Hall Hotel as the winning groups were given funding from the parish council to take their plans forward.
A grant of £1,500 has gone to the top project, Wear Team Durham, for their proposals on greater use of recycling bins.
Brainstormerz will use £1,000 to expand the activities at Belmont Community Centre for 13 to 18-year-olds.
Starz, received £750 for informal get-togethers at a nursing home to bridge the gap between different generations.
Three other teams were praised by the panel and may get future development and cash.
They are Think Community, which planned to hold talent shows in a community centre and use the proceeds to carry out renovation work; CAYE, which would bring together pet-owners to share tips and skills, and Merge, which tailored its idea to mother and toddler groups.
Melody – who reached week 10 of the seventh series of BBC1 reality show The Apprentice, run by Lord Alan Sugar – said: “During my 14 years in the youth sector, this truly has been one of the most valuable projects InspirEngage has had the pleasure of running.
“We’ve watched the journey each of the young people have been on, through developing their life skills such as communication and project management in order to launch fantastic, selfless projects which will benefit their community.”
Pc Waheed Mughal, who helped run the programme, said: “The commitment shown by so many students over such a lengthy period of time has been exemplary.”