Aspiring Leaders Programme

ALP3 recruitment is still open!

The next cohort of the Aspiring Leaders Programme (ALP) is due to begin in September 2017 and will run for 3 years until June 2020.  This is a once in a lifetime chance for future community leaders to get the training and support they need to excel.  You’ll end up with a degree in Social Enterprise Leadership – and it’s all paid for with generous funding from the Francis C Scott Charitable Trust, Rathbones, Langdale Leisure and the Sir John Fisher Foundation.

So if you are:

  • around 20-32 years old
  • resident in Cumbria or North Lancashire
  • working/volunteering for a local charity or social enterprise
  • with an ambition to become a community leader

… then have a read of this form ALP flyer 2017 and if you’re interested then get in touch with Chris Batten at FCSCT to arrange an initial interview.  An article featuring two participants on ALP2 is at Ulverston Now April 2017 Aspiring Leaders article (thanks to Ulverston Now).

Each participant on the programme has to be nominated by the charity or social enterprise that you are working or volunteering for.  The application form is here ALP3 Application Form – 2017 and will need to be completed prior to your initial chat with Chris.  The closing date for applications is May 2017 but places are filling up so the sooner the better.

Inspiring stories behind some of our ALP participants/graduates can be found by clicking on  Emma – An ALP case study or Jo – An ALP story

There’s also some great video interviews with participants from ALP1 & ALP2:

Emma – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkEQXJl3G9I

Adam – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wFdSNfN6dk

Andrew – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRzaFmVbCLk

Jack – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jg1wWXRu5lc

 

Don’t hesitate to call Chris on 01539 742608 if you have any questions.

 

Background

The Aspiring Leaders Programme (ALP) was born of a wide-ranging strategic review undertaken by the FCSCT board in March 2010 at which young people from across Cumbria/North Lancs and a cross-section of community leaders considered the challenges facing their local not-for-profit sector and explored options for change.

The review concluded that we need committed, knowledgeable and enterprising charity leaders to ensure that services to those most in need are sustained and developed.  In Cumbria/ North Lancs, the number of charities per head of population is almost the highest in the country in the South Lakes area and amongst the lowest in Barrow, the west coast and the West End of Morecambe.  The most deprived communities who need high-performing charities appear to have the least capability to initiate, develop and sustain the very services they need most.  Where such charities do exist, we observe that they are predominantly led by ‘off-comers’ (which is fine) but where is the talent from within?  It is our contention that the leadership talent exists but it remains buried, constrained both by a low aspiration culture and a lack of targeted investment.

This somewhat subjective analysis was considered by a Trust (FCSCT) with a 50-year history of investing in the development of young adults so, in some ways, ALP was an evolutionary development.   It is our ambition to provide a transformative programme for young adults who would not otherwise access mainstream higher education or development opportunities.  The key objectives of the programme were, and remain, as follows:

  1. To uncover, nurture and launch talented young adults from within the most deprived communities in Cumbria/North Lancs in order to better serve those communities’ needs.
  2. In doing so, to provide role models for others to aspire, attain and contribute.
  3. To address the most common deficiency we see in local charity leadership – namely the ability to run charitable services in a business-like and enterprising manner.
  4. To create a self-supporting network of community leadership across our beneficial area.

Following a three stage tendering process in 2010/11, the Brathay Trust emerged as the lead partner working in close collaboration with the University of Cumbria (UofC) and Common Purpose to deliver ALP1.  The core elements of the 3-year programme are:

  • A Degree (BSc Hons) in Social Enterprise Leadership
  • A series of residential leadership training programmes
  • A personal mentor
  • Work placements/experience
  • Visits to inspirational charities/social enterprises

Participants, who must already be working or volunteering for a local charity/social enterprise, are nominated by local sector leaders and must go through a two-stage assessment process before being offered a place on the programme. ALP1 ran from 2011-14 with twelve pioneers graduating from the programme.  ALP2 is running from 2014-17 with fourteen participants fully engaged with the programme.  The Research Hub at Brathay, in conjunction with UofC staff, are evaluating the programme and have already identified resilience as a key factor in participants’ successful engagement with ALP.  This, alongside much learning gleaned from running ALP1, has been fed into the revised design for ALP2.

The return on investment for FCSCT will be to witness a generational improvement in the leadership capability of the charitable sector in the most deprived areas of Cumbria/North Lancs.   A longitudinal study undertaken by the research team will indicate progress towards that overarching aim but the simplest assessment will be keeping track of the alumni.  To that end, we appointed an Alumni Coordinator from amongst the ALP1 graduates at the outset of 2015.

ALP remains a high-cost, funder-led intervention with no guaranteed prospects of success.  The sums involved, which would otherwise be directed towards the coal-face delivery of charitable work with deprived children and young people, gives everyone involved pause for thought.  What keeps FCSCT committed to the cause, however, is the chance to change the low aspiration culture so ingrained in too many of our most deprived communities.  And if that change is engendered from within then we believe it stands a far better chance of being sustained.  Time will tell.