Dragons Den challenge project comes to life

Small improvements make hostels less hostile

Dragon’s Den runner up Lisa Newton used her £2,000 prize money to make things a little better for customers in two of our temporary accommodation schemes.

At Oakleigh House in Sutton, a previously unused and unloved room was re-purposed, redecorated and refurbished to provide a community space. Tables, chairs and storage were fitted, and a programme of community events and meetings set up. These events were influenced by the recognised needs of the customers, but also with input from the tenants themselves to ensure they would be useful.

At Eaton Green in Luton, the focus was on the external. “We wanted to create a space outside for people to get together outside but we couldn’t get planning permission, so instead the money has been used for equipment for the tenants to use – like rounders kit for the sessions with the kids they run every week,” Lisa explains.

“We had some money left over so we also got some additional equipment for when we install raised beds and storage facilities.”

Feedback from customers is really positive, with comments about how this is helping them interact with each other and helps to reduce the sense of isolation and stigma that can often come with this type of accommodation.