Big changes start locally

Leading the way

Round 1 of Leading the Way is now closed to new applications. Round 2 will open in Autumn 2022.

The Virgin Money Foundation and Power To Change launch Leading The Way: A leadership programme for community enterprises.

To find out about the first Cohort of community leaders click here

We will be recruiting a second cohort of 10 community leaders in the North East of England and 10 community leaders in Yorkshire and the Humber to join our learning programme, which will take place from March 2023 to June 2024 (16 months). You will be grouped by region so you can build valuable relationships with other community enterprises in your area. In person group learning sessions for the North East cohort will take place in Newcastle, and in Leeds for the Yorkshire and the Humber cohort.

The programme consists of:

  • In person group learning sessions every six weeks to build your technical management skills and leadership capabilities, learning alongside people running organisations like yours, so you can help each other out. There will be 10 full day in person sessions, plus a final event to celebrate your achievements. You can use your grant to cover travel costs.
  • Tailored one-to-one specialist support between group sessions to assist your learning, provide practical support to put your learning into practice and to focus on particular technical challenges or skills development to suit your needs.
  • Access to one-to-one coaching for the duration of the programme to support your personal development.
  • A programme mentor for each cohort who will work with you to identify your development goals and co-produce a tailored development plan. The programme mentor will be your point of contact during the programme and also hosts the group learning sessions and facilitates learning between leaders.
  • Site visits and online inspirational talks from leaders who have been on a similar journey to you, including Q&A sessions.
  • Access to the in person group learning sessions and online talks for another relevant member of your organisation’s team to further build the capabilities and impact of your organisation.
  • An £8,000 grant for your organisation to support your development as a leader and the impact of your organisation.

Diversity, equity and inclusion

We welcome strong applications from community leaders across the community enterprise sector. We will, however, be prioritising applications that demonstrate the greatest potential to learn and benefit from the programme.

We will be prioritising applications that:

Demonstrate strong social impact and community benefit from the organisation’s activities and scope for the programme to deepen this impact

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

Demonstrate the individual’s commitment to developing their leadership skills and meeting the time and travel commitments of the programme

Propose a use of the grant which would support the individual’s development as a leader and the impact of the organisation

We will also aim to ensure a diverse range of locations from within each region are represented in each cohort and particularly encourage applications from groups under-represented in leadership positions, including from communities experiencing racial inequity.

Eligibility criteria

Criteria for organisations

To be eligible to join the programme, your organisation must:

  1. Be based in an area that experiences high levels of statistical disadvantage
  2. Generate some of its income through contracts, products or services
  3. Be community focused and operating within a local area
  4. Have been incorporated for at least two years
  5. Not be a sole trader
  6. Have a community purpose and meet a charitable need in your community
  7. Be for public benefit
Criteria for applicants

In addition, you as the applicant must:

  1. Be someone who leads your organisation
  2. Have not accessed a leadership development programme in the last 5 years
  3. Be able to commit to 1.5 days per month

Application process

The application timeline is as follows:

Stage 1: Application form

To apply to the programme, you need to complete an application form.

If you start your application, but are unable to complete all the required information, don’t worry. You can simply save your form and come back to it at a later date. We will review your application and let you know within 3 weeks of the application window closing whether we are taking your application forward to the next stage. If you have any questions or need assistance with completing your application, please contact

Stage 2: Conversation

If we take your application forward to the next stage, you will be invited to have a 45 minute face-to-face conversation with us in Leeds (if your organisation is based in Yorkshire and the Humber) or Newcastle (if your organisation is based in North East England). If you are unable to attend in person, we will offer you a time for an online conversation instead.

The purpose of this conversation is for us to find out more about your role, your organisation, what you would like to get out of the programme and how you will manage the time commitment. We will also be interested in whether your organisation’s board is aware of your application and how they will support you if you are successful. While we do not require any specific support from your Board, we will expect them to be aware of your application and to engage with the implementation of learning if your application is successful. This conversation is also an opportunity for you to ask us questions about the programme.

Stage 3: Confirmation

After a conversation with us, we will let you know if you have been accepted on to the programme. If you are accepted, we will send you a welcome pack, including details of the programme timetable and next steps.

Data protection

Confidential information you provide, such as commercially sensitive data, will not be made public in any way, except as required by law. Power to Change and the Virgin Money Foundation may use non-sensitive data about awarded grants, including statistical data about applications, to promote the programme.

Please note that the details captured via this application are deemed necessary in order to complete our review of your application. Your personal details and those of your colleagues that you have shared here, will be stored and processed online in accordance with GDPR regulations.

We will only store your information for as long as it is necessary and will delete your information when there is no further legitimate, legal or contractual reason to keep it. For more information and to understand your rights under the GDPR with regards to the information you supply as part of your application, please visit the Power to Change and Virgin Money Foundation websites.

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