Leading the Way

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Supporting people running community enterprises in the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber to confidently lead their team and organisation to greater impact and resilience.

Leading the Way is now closed

Do you lead a community enterprise, such as a community business, organisation or trading charity in Yorkshire & the Humber or the North East of England? Are you interested in developing your leadership skills with a group of peers?

Leading the Way is a leadership programme designed for people who are “getting on and doing it”, running community enterprises. Running from spring 2023 through to summer 2024, the programme brings together regional cohorts to work and learn together, with one-to-one support from a mentor, cohort-based learning, and support to you, your team and organisation from specialists

The programme offers support of approximately £25,000 in value, including a grant to support your participation.

Peer networking
One-to-one development and cohort-based learning


Specialist support for your organisation
Delivered in-person to leaders of community enterprises in Yorkshire and the Humber and the North East
Read the guidance and apply below

“Quite often, leadership development is delivered across quite short programmes, I love that Leading the Way is over a 16-month timeframe, allowing time and space to process and embed learning, and to allow for deep reflection.”

Nadia, leader in the north east

About Leading the Way

Leading the Way aims to increase the confidence, resilience, skills and networks of people running community enterprises, including community businesses, organisations and trading charities, to enable them to develop their leadership and deepen the positive impact their organisation has in their community.

Leading the Way will run over 16 months from spring 2023 to summer 2024. Twenty leaders will be part of the programme, as part of two cohorts – ten working in the North East, and ten in Yorkshire & the Humber. It offers a package of support worth approximately £25,000.

The programme balances one-to-one development and cohort- and peer-based learning, and offers a grant to support the participation of each person in the programme. There will be ten cohort-based learning days, hosted in-person and in-region, and these will run every six weeks, with leaders learning skills, techniques and approaches to effectively manage and lead their team and organisation.

Between learning days, leaders will work one-to-one with a mentor on their leadership and organisational goals, and will benefit from coaching and specialist support to bring expertise into their organisations to address specific organisational opportunities or challenges. This is underpinned by a grant to support each leader’s participation in the programme. With two regional cohorts, leaders are connected with their peers to learn from and with one another, and develop relationships, partnerships and networks.

The programme has been designed for leaders who have not benefitted from significant investment in their personal or organisational development. We are keen to work with people who are ‘getting on and doing it’, and who might feel that other leadership programmes aren’t for them. Applications are particularly encouraged from groups under-represented in leadership positions, including people from minoritised ethnicity communities, and people who are disabled.

Programme offer
  • One-to-one work with a mentor who will work with you to identify and develop your goals for the programme and co-produce an action plan. Mentors will work across a cohort and also have a role in facilitating learning between leaders on the programme
  • Cohort-based learning days, scheduled every 6 weeks and hosted in-person and in-region: most likely in Leeds, Newcastle and York.  Across the ten learning days you’ll have the opportunity to build your technical management skills and leadership skills, and work with your peers to share, learn and problem-solve together
  • One-to-one coaching to support your personal development throughout the programme, with ten sessions available to you
  • One-to-one specialist support to bring expertise into your organisation to help you embed your learning from the programme and to address challenges or opportunities that are specific to you and your organisation
  • A grant to support your participation in the programme and to embed your leaning and the impact of your organisation. Your grant can be used to backfill your role while you take part in the programme, support your learning, cover any costs for childcare or other caring responsibilities, and for travel costs
  • Online talks and site visits, co-designed by the leaders on the programme, to bring you additional insight and value.
Who is eligible to apply?

To be eligible to join the programme, you must:

  • Lead a team, and lead the organisation: Eligible people will lead a team, whether paid or volunteer, and will have responsibility or accountability for running a significant part, or all, of the organisation. You may be an established leader, have recently stepped into a leadership role, or be in training or under mentorship for a leadership role in your organisation.
  • Be able to commit 1.5 days per month: Eligible people will be able to commit to 1.5 days each month to engage with the programme, its support, and materials over the course of 16 months. This will include travel and attendance at in-person group learning days every six weeks (hosted in-region, most likely in Leeds, Newcastle and York), mentoring, coaching and engaging with bespoke support to your organisation.

While some of the programme activities will take place on particular dates, such as the group learning days, you will have the flexibility to arrange your mentoring, coaching and bespoke organisational support to take place at a time that suits you.

A grant is offered as part of the programme, which can be used to support with backfilling your role, any childcare costs you incur to attend group learning days, and your travel costs.

Organisational eligibility

In addition to the individual criteria, your organisation must:

  • Operate in an area of the North East of England or Yorkshire and the Humber that experiences high levels of statistical disadvantage: Eligible organisations will operate in either region within the 30% most deprived areas of England as defined by the 2019 Index of Multiple Deprivation.You can check where your community is on the indices using this postcode lookup. We will ask you to provide between one and three postcodes where the organisation operates or where your service users live to determine eligibility.
  • Be incorporated
    Eligible organisations will be incorporated, and will be able to demonstrate incorporation, or trading activity, for upwards of two years. Organisations that can’t demonstrate incorporation prior to December 2020 will be asked to provide two years of accounts. Unfortunately, we are unable to support unincorporated organisations, such as unincorporated associations.

  • Operate as a community enterprise.
Community enterprise criteria

By community enterprise, we mean organisations that:

  • Have local roots, and be working to build on the strengths and assets of that place to address community needs: Eligible organisations will be able to demonstrate a focus on a place and its community. Within the programme’s definition of ‘local’, an organisation may work within a neighbourhood, community, town or city. Organisations which work across more than one local authority area will need to demonstrate that they work on a local level in each place.
  • Have a charitable purpose and meet a charitable need: Eligible organisations will have a charitable purpose at the heart of what they do, which meets charitable needs in their community. This does not mean that your organisation has to be a charity, as we will fund a variety of legal structures, but we cannot fund activities which don’t further a charitable purpose.
  • Earn some of its income through services, products or contracts: Eligible organisations will have a track record of generating some income by selling goods or services to people in their community and/or to commissioners, for example local authorities who pay a local organisation to deliver a service. This is sometimes phrased as ‘trading’ or ‘traded income’.
  • Have a broad community impact: Eligible organisations will work with a broad cross section of the community. This includes people of all ages, genders and ethnicities, designing work that meets the needs of the community at large and the demographics it contains. We recognise that some disadvantaged groups will be better served by organisations focusing on their specific needs, and we welcome applications from these organisations, without the expectation that they will work with the whole community.
Diversity, equity and inclusion

We will be prioritising applications that:

  • Are from leaders of organisations working with disadvantaged groups, including minoritised ethnicities and disabled people
  • Are from people who have not had significant or recent investment in their leadership or personal development: We are seeking to support people who have not benefitted from other leadership programmes or alternative forms of support to their leadership or development. In this we include support such as extensive coaching, or programmes supporting the organisation to grow or develop.
  • Are from organisations operating in the most statistically disadvantaged areas according to the 2019 Indices of Multiple Deprivation
  • Are from relatively young or early stage organisations: Whilst we cannot work with organisations which have been incorporated for less than two years, we are keen to support leaders of organisations which are in their early stages of development
  • Demonstrate strong social impact and community benefit from the organisation’s activities and scope for the programme to deepen this impact

We will also aim to ensure a diverse range of locations from within each region are represented in each cohort.

Watch the webinar

About the partners

Power to Change - Virgin Money Foundation logos

Power to Change

Power to Change is the independent trust that supports community businesses in England.

Community businesses are locally rooted, community-led, trade for community benefit and make life better for local people. The sector owns assets worth £870m and comprises 11,300 community businesses across England who employ more than 37,000 people. (Source: Community Business Market 2020).

From pubs to libraries; shops to bakeries; swimming pools to solar farms; community businesses are creating great products and services, providing employment and training and transforming lives.

Power to Change received an original endowment from the National Lottery Community Fund in 2015 and an additional grant of £20million in 2021.

Virgin Money Foundation

Their ambition is to make a real and lasting difference in the places that need it most by working in partnership with organisations who are committed to regenerating their area and investing in community activities that have a meaningful impact.

Virgin Money Foundation were set up by Virgin Money, who financially support the Foundation. Their staff offer skilled volunteering and high quality training to organisations they fund.

Application process

The current application round for Leading the Way is now closed.