Dragons’ Den annual staff innovation competition

Our annual Dragons' Den innovation competition is similar to the hit BBC television programme, though our ‘dragons’ are not as mean. It is the opportunity for staff to put forward a great idea and – if shortlisted – pitch for project funding and management support to make their proposal a reality.

Cast your vote to decide who enters our Dragons’ Den in 2022

Following a break due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our Dragons’ Den staff innovation competition is back – with colleagues pitching ideas to improve services for patients, carers and staff across the Trust.

We would like to thank all staff who have put forward some fantastic ideas, despite the huge challenges of the pandemic. We received 15 inspirational bids for funding, which have gone through expert peer review and independent assessment from a Dorset HealthCare shortlisting team. We now have a final top 10 to choose from, and need your help to decide which ideas go through to the Dragons’ Den live final.

Please vote for your favourite three ideas by 14 January. The people behind the most popular proposals will be invited to pitch their ideas in more detail before our panel of ‘Dragons’ (as in the TV show, only much friendlier) on 17 February. There is £10,000 in funding up for grabs, along with project support to deliver the winning projects over the next 12 months.

All the suggestions are brilliant, but we need to narrow it down. Cast your vote now!

Vote for three projects that should receive funding

Project name

Amount requested

Project summary

PRP injection pilot for Knee Osteoarthritis


This project will pilot Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections to treat 50 Dorset Healthcare patients facing significant pain from knee osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal conditions. The pandemic has led to extended waiting lists for orthopaedic surgical treatments, especially for knee osteoarthritis. This exciting new treatment could give a lifeline to patients, and provide valuable evidence to seek further funding for future PRP injection treatments.

Photo Participation Model


Photo Participation is  a recognised model of good practice in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), which involves the use of photography to document young people’s experiences. Accompanied by captions, chosen by the young person,  it provides them with the tools to develop a critical consciousness through reflection and discussion. Using more Photo Participation would help us shape services around young people, and gather evidence about its value which could be shared with other services for vulnerable people.

Health Body & Brain


This idea is to pilot an MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment) information and support group across Dorset, in line with national best practice guidelines. Despite the range of support services for increasing numbers of people with dementia in Dorset, there is currently no service for those with MCI. Without appropriate support, these people have an increased risk of cognitive decline into dementia.

Aphasia Choir


Funding for this project would help to continue a regular aphasia choir in Dorset. Aphasia is an often life-changing condition caused by an acquired brain injury, in which a person’s ability to communicate is affected. Some people with aphasia cannot find the right words, put words into sentences or even speak at all. However, people with aphasia often find it easier to sing, which greatly improves their quality of life.



The Communication+ App is for people who have had a stroke and feel they need support to regain a fulfilling life. Stroke patients often face frightening new challenges as a result of their condition, and the Communication+ mobile phone app would provide a simple but vital tool to help them regain their independence and quality of life.

Combat Social Isolation of Elderly


This project would create a pilot group run by a Community Mental Health Team (CMHT) for older people whose social isolation is significantly contributing to their poor mental health. It would support service users to move out of isolation, connect with others and benefit from local community resources in their area, greatly boosting their mental health and wellbeing.

Coffee Connection


Funding would be used to enhance and extend ‘Coffee Connection’, an award-winning community project in Poole. This provides a drop-in hub,  wellbeing support and a carers’ support network at the Serenitea Café. Events, community activities and workshops will support people to focus on wellness, rather than illness. The project is run in partnership by EDAS (Essential Drug & Alcohol Services who are contributing nearly £4000 to the project ) and our Poole Community Mental Health Team.

Provision of pedometers and water bottles


This project will provide people with a pedometer and water bottle during their frailty review. This will enable people to set realistic goals around increasing activity levels by number of steps taken and fluid intake, on an individualised basis. In line with the NHS National Ageing Well project, this will help minimise the impact of dehydration and reduced activity levels on older patients.

The Melstock Garden makeover


Funding would be used to buy a table, benches and a planter for the outdoor area at Melstock House, our inpatient unit for older people with mental health problems.  The enhanced patio would provide staff, patients and visitors with a restful space for reflection and activities. The equipment would be supplied by a  local company using recycled plastic which requires no maintenance and is easy to clean.


Sleep tight Wake Bright


‘Sleep Tight, Wake Bright’ would support 10 staff members across Dorset to be sleep champions – people dedicated to designing bespoke sleep hygiene plans to recharge energy levels, enhance positive decision making and support clearer thinking.  Training would be offered to inpatient and community-based staff, as well as school mental health teams – helping to raise awareness of the importance of sleep among young people.

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