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Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce Directors, Sharon Colvan and Jason George attended the Clydebank charity (and Dunbartonshire Chamber member), Golden Friendships, for a Dragon’s den style, community funding event called Community Soup on Tuesday, 23rd April. In partnership with West Dunbartonshire Council’s Your Community division, the event was hosted at the Golden Friendships community hall in Dalmuir to highlight local community groups and gave the groups the opportunity to pitch for £500 of funding in front of a panel of Dragon’s represented by local business owners and supporters of Golden Friendships.

The inaugural ‘Golden Dragons’ were:

· Sharon Colvan (Glenhead Engineering and Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce)

· Jason George (Columbus UK and Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce)

· Carlo Scarramuzza (CSD Air Conditioning)

· Kelly McColm (Virgin Money)

Following live entertainment, the community group pitches and a break for food and refreshments, almost 100 attendees were given the opportunity to cast their vote for their favourite community group idea.

Jason George, who is also a trustee of Golden Friendships commented that “events like this are so important to highlight the great work going on in our local community that people may not know about. Golden Friendships founder, Jim Mclaren told me how difficult it was to raise funds when Golden Friendships first started up, back in 2017, so if we can give something back and help local community groups source funding and thrive, then we’ll do everything we can to support them.”

And indeed, they did support them. In addition to the 1st prize of £500.00 provided by Your Community, Golden Friendships provided £650.00 of additional funding and there was more generosity to come.

Following excellent pitches from all 10 groups, the Dragon’s discussed the groups and Jason George commented that he needed 10 voting counters not one, as he wanted to support them all. Sharon Colvan then came up with the idea for the Dragons to match fund Golden Friendships contribution of £650.00 to increase the funding pot to £1800.00 and offer larger funding prizes to every group. This was swiftly agreed with Carlo and Jason and communicated to the organisers.

The winner on the night was Serene Energy, a free community reiki group that will use the funding to purchase mats and materials for classes and support venue rental. They intend to grow the group and support more people to experience the physical and mental benefits of meditation.

A full list of the community groups that participated in Community Soup at Golden Friendships community hall is shown below. If you would like to connect with a group or start one up, please email

1. Aspire 2

To support those suffering with mental health issues by purchasing arts & crafts materials, going on day trips and raising awareness of the group. To attract new members and promote positive thinking.

2. Nurturing Nature Forest School

To run two Summer Fayres during the school holidays, free for families to attend. Creative materials will be used alongside natural materials, so all children have a keepsake to take home including tote bags, clay and wands.

3. Awestruck Academy

Awestruck Wednesday Lunch Club. A place to meet and join in an activity, from using the leisure facilities like pool table, table tennis to doing some arts and crafts, to playing musical instruments and relaxing in a safe social environment.

4. Isaro Community Initiative

Learn and connect after-school club. To run an English Café during summer holidays for adults and children who are facing a language barrier. Improved communication skills will help build confidence and make new connections.

5. 1st Old Kilpatrick Brownies

Big Night Out. To attend a performance of Peter Pan at Glasgow King’s Theatre. This would be a brand new experience that would count towards continued achievement and make new and exciting memories with friends.

6. One Bedford-Shire Community Garden

Raised Bed Building. To purchase sleepers and soil to build two raised beds. To raise awareness of the group and attract new members, reducing isolation and loneliness within the community and promoting healthy eating.

7. The Recycle Room

Community Laundry. To increase capacity of our community laundry. It can be a lifeline to all who need and use it having a huge and positive impact on their mental health and stresses over money worries.

8. Help 4 The Homeless

H4TH Community Shop. Funding will help us buy shop furnishings, storage & signage and marketing materials so people can come and choose items in a shop environment with the dignity in a well laid out and displayed shop.

9. Hope Community Church

Hope for recovery. To publish recovery materials and work with high school kids S4 – S6, with a view to catch and prevent them falling into drug or alcohol addiction as well as continuing to support those in addiction aged 18 onwards.

10. Serene Energy – Reiki Group

Free community meditation group. To help purchase mats and materials for classes and support venue rental. To grow the group and support more people to experience the physical and mental benefits of meditation.

Golden Friendships was set up in 2017 by Jim Mclaren, a former taxi driver and local karaoke star, to help combat loneliness and isolation in the local community. The charity supports youngsters, people with additional support needs, and disabilities, and the elderly from the town and beyond. For further enquires contact Golden Friendships on 0141 588 3070 or visit the web site.

Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce is a not-for-profit, membership organisation which promotes, represents and supports businesses and our wider communities in both East and West Dunbartonshire. For further enquiries contact Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce on 0141 280 0272 or visit the web site.

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Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce
Whitecrook Business Centre
78 Whitecrook Street
G81 1QF

0141 280 0272