North community leaders gear up for innovative programme

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19 leaders from the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber will benefit from a tailored learning programme which includes a £8,000 grant and which supports the development and impact of community enterprises.
15 Jun, 2022

Community leaders from across the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber have been chosen to take part in an innovative community leadership programme.  Leading the Way – developed in partnership with Virgin Money Foundation – offers mentoring, site visits and inspirational talks as well as financial, governance and marketing skills.

A total of 19 leaders from the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber will benefit from a tailored learning programme which includes a £8,000 grant and which supports the development and impact of community enterprises. The programme kicked off with the first in-person meeting of the cohort last week in York.

Group photo of the first cohort of Leading the Way

The programme will support them as they build their skills, confidence and networks to play a vital role supporting their communities in the North of England and across Yorkshire and the Humber.

Among the community groups chosen to participate in the programme which begins this month are Back on the Map, Cornforth Partnership and Family Voice Sheffield.

Snapshot of the leaders

The Cornforth Partnership was born in 1996 as a community response to the growing poverty, deprivation and isolation of the industrial village of Cornforth, County Durham. As local facilities were closed, the Cornforth Partnership was established to create a community resource centre which would support the social, environmental, recreational and economic regeneration of Cornforth and its surrounding areas.

Tony Cutmore, CEO at Cornforth Partnership commented: “I am excited to be part of the Leading the Way programme. After two years of concentrating on COVID and supporting our communities to be safe, I am looking forward to network with other organisations across the North East, develop new skills and ideas to drive the Cornforth Partnership forward.”

Family Voice, based in Sheffield, works for and with families in the surrounding communities. The organisation applies for funding to run projects that supports local parents and children.

Janine Dos Remedios – Co-Director Family Voice Sheffield added: “I cannot wait to take part in Leading the Way. Family Voice Sheffield is a small organisation that has grown in the last couple of years. This will give us the tools to lead the organisation in a positive way to have the greatest impact for the community we work with. Learning how to become a successful leader in a community business both personally and professionally, is a fantastic opportunity. I’m looking forward to taking these lessons and putting them into practice.”

Back on the Map are a charity passionate about enhancing the quality of life of people living and visiting Hendon and the east end of Sunderland. 

Joanne Cooper, CEO at Back on the Map said: “I’m looking forward to gaining many things from the Leading the Way programme. I want to strengthen our community business and make our organisation more resilient. I want to share all I learn with my team and across the wider voluntary sector. I’d like to increase the impact our organisation has on creating a better place for our residents to live and a stronger community.”

About the partnership

Leading the Way was developed in partnership with Virgin Money Foundation, who support organisations with the vision to make positive change in their communities. Power to Change and Virgin Money Foundation share a vision of the sustainable regeneration of communities, led by people who love the places in which they live and work.

Tim Davies-Pugh, CEO of Power to Change, said: “Leading the Way will help build and shape the community businesses leaders of the future, giving them the skills and tools necessary to make practical and tangible improvements in the way their business operates and to thrive in the face of ongoing economic and social challenges.”

Kate Bradley, Interim Executive Director at Virgin Money Foundation said: “Through the extensive work the Virgin Money Foundation undertakes with local community organisations, we really do understand how vital leadership training is. This leadership programme will give people working at the heart of communities across the North East and Yorkshire & Humber the skills and tools to make change happen at a local level on an even greater scale I can’t wait to welcome our first cohort of community leaders to the programme.”

Leading the Way icebreaker session

Full list of community groups

In total, 19 community groups have been chosen for this first cohort of Leading the Way:


Organisation Name Contact  Location
Action Station South Tyneside Stephen Clark North East
Back on the Map Joanne Cooper North East
Bradford Organic Communities Service Jennifer White Yorkshire
Capital of Cycling David Robinson Yorkshire
Company of Others Nadia Iftkhar North East
East Cleveland Youth Housing Trust Andy Pettersen North East
Family Voice Sheffield Janine Dos Remedios Yorkshire
Leeds Community Spaces Rachel Dodson Yorkshire
Live Well North East Debra Forth North East
Local Services 2 You Andy Petrie Yorkshire
REfUSE CIC Bethan Hosker North East
Scholemoor Beacon Susan Moreland Yorkshire
Sky Positive Minds Shaffia Khatun Yorkshire
The Big League CIC Samantha Hunter North East
The Cornforth Partnership Tony Cutmore North East
The Kirkgate Centre Nicole Williams Yorkshire
Ubuntu Multicultural Centre Irene Nakkazzi North East
Wearside Women in Need Katie Wheatley North East
West View and Resource Centre Katherine Parker North East