About Dolphins’ Den

If you have a unique talent or skill that you love practicing, you might like to try self-employment.

We run a project called Dolphins’ Den that can help you to set up your own business or community project.

Dolphins’ Den is made up of a series of fun workshops. Workshops run once a month for about a year. They help you to think about everything you need to set up your own business, such as who your customers are, selling, marketing and how to write a business plan.

Half way through these workshops, we match you with a mentor from your local business community. A mentor is someone who will support and encourage you to think about your business idea and how to make it happen. Your mentor will work with you on a one-to-one basis for 6 months.

At the end of a Dolphins’ Den project, we have a big celebration event, where you can show and tell people about what you have achieved.

Who helps us make Dolphins’ Den happen?

Between 2016 and 2019, Dolphins’ Den has received funding from European Social Fund and the Big Lottery. This will help us run 6 individual projects in Swindon and Wiltshire. These Dolphins’ Den projects are part of the Building Bridges programme.

Building Bridges is a partnership of organisations, led by Community First, that has come together to deliver the Building Better Opportunities Programme across Swindon and Wiltshire. The £3.9M local funding is part of the Building Better Opportunities (BBO) programme, which is jointly funded by the Big Lottery Fund and the European Social Fund.

What is the Building Bridges programme?

The Building Bridges programme supports people across Swindon and Wiltshire who are facing significant challenges in being able to develop their skills, access education or move towards the world of work. Taking part in the programme is entirely voluntary and all of our advice and support is offered free of charge.

We work with people on a one-to-one basis to help them address the challenges and barriers they are facing. We support them to develop their own personalised plan to help them achieve their goals at a pace they are comfortable with.

The programme is a partnership of local charities, voluntary groups and organisations who are experts at supporting people and giving them the skills and confidence they need to move forward.

Each participant will have someone who works with them as a mentor, helping them to access support from across the partnership to help them achieve their goals. These mentors can also work with family members, carers, key workers or other people supporting you if you give us permission – it is entirely up to you.

We understand that there are many different factors which affect whether people feel ready to take the next step forwards – this is why we also offer specialist help and support in a number of areas including developing physical and mental wellbeing, accessing debt and financial advice and help with issues such as transport and childcare.