Digital Leadership for Social Enterprises

Spark Somerset, Engage and award-winning social enterprise Cosmic are combining forces to offer social enterprises and enterprising charities across Somerset a unique chance to develop their digital leadership skills and make themselves more resilient for the 21st century.

Starting in July, Cosmic will be rolling out two of its hugely popular Digital Leadership for Social Enterprises programmes, at Monks Yard, near Ilminster, and at Williton Pavilion in West Somerset. Each programme includes 20 hours of support over 5 sessions, where leaders come together to learn about how to embrace digital as ‘the norm’ in the day to day running of their organisation.

Investing in digital skills is a must for every organisation at this time, including the VCSE Sector, but many organisations are yet to address this issue at senior management and Board levels. Learning how to utilise digital in your business has the potential to raise your competitive edge, increase staff satisfaction, raise productivity levels, meet users’ needs and ultimately increase your social impact.

After 2 sessions on the Digital Leadership course, I’ve finally found my groove with digital!
Amy Jones, CEO, CAB Sedgemoor, May 2019.

There are limited FREE spaces available, subject to eligibility. Find out more at

These courses are funded as part of the Enhance Social Enterprise ERDF programme.

VCSE Leaders’ Conference 2019 – The Future is in Our Hands

The VCSE Leaders’ Conference returns next month, and it promises to be an inspiring and unmissable event for charity leaders in Somerset.

The Future is in Our Hands. With demand for VCSE services on the increase, how can we ensure that the sector is prepared? Join us for an exciting programme of keynotes, Q&As and workshops, which will address the key issues we face as a sector, and inspire and motivate us to rise to the challenge.

Hear from the following speakers:

The Future is in Your Hands: Peter Wanless, CEO, NSPCC
As demand for voluntary sector services continues to rise in Somerset and beyond, how can we, as charity leaders, ensure that we are prepared to rise to the challenge? As CEO of the NSPCC and former CEO of the Big Lottery, Peter brings a wealth of experience of the VCSE sector at the very highest level, and will draw on this experience to inspire the audience.

‘Not for Loss’ Instead of ‘Not for Profit’ – Adopting the Social Enterprise Mindset: Patrick Nash, Enterprise Values
Too many charities, especially small ones, rely on grants and charitable funding that comes and goes. It’s hard to create sustainable income. It’s time to move from a ‘not for profit’ mindset to a ‘not for loss’ mindset. Patrick has turned struggling charity services into successful enterprises, solving social problems, creating jobs and making profits – all at the same time. He will speak about developing a social enterprise mindset.

Collaboration for Success: Charlotte Augst, CEO, National Voices
As CEO of National Voices, the coalition of health and care charities in England, and former Partnership Director of The Richmond Group, Charlotte is well-versed in the benefits – and pitfalls - of collaborative working. She will explore a range of issues relating to this subject such as: Why collaborate? How can collaboration work in the VCSE? What are the challenges? What are the benefits?

Plus take part in workshops:

Using Digital to do Things Differently: Cosmic
Learn how digital is changing the way charities operate and deliver change. Find out what is over the horizon and learn ways to do things differently to prepare for the digital future. This workshop, lead by Kate Doodson, Joint CEO at Cosmic, is designed for non-techies to build confidence in making strategic decisions around digital services and opportunities

What do I Say? TheWholeStory
Storytelling has become a bit of a buzzword; offering to engage your audience, make you more authentic and memorable, influence others… the list of benefits is endless. As luck would have it, it does do all these things and more. Lily Pender, Joint Founder at TheWholeStory, will guide you through a series of techniques to find your charity’s core story, and help prepare and test what to say to build enthusiasm and motivate outcomes you want.

Your Social Enterprise Planned in an Hour: Enterprise Values
If you want to have a go at transforming your charity service into a sustainable enterprise, this workshop is for you. Come with a service or product in mind. Patrick will take you through a fast-paced planning process to help you turn this into a successful enterprise. You’ll analyse your product potential, find markets for it, come up with pricing, design a sales strategy and financial forecast, and propose your investment requirements. All in an hour. Come prepared to move quickly!

Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to gain advice and insight from our expert speakers, network with other charity leaders in Somerset, and join the discussion on some of the biggest challenges facing the sector.

The conference is taking place from 1oam to 4pm on Friday 21st June at Monks Yard, Near Ilminster. Tickets are £40, includes lunch and refreshments.

This event is being organised by our partners, Spark Somerset. You can find further information and booking details at

Safer Communities Workshop

Do you have ideas about how your organisation can help to make Somerset a safer place to live and work?

How can your organisation contribute to the community safety agenda for Somerset?

Almost all community safety work is done in partnership. No matter the subject area, it is rare that any one issue can be dealt with by a single agency.

There is a range of community safety work that involves agencies such as the voluntary and community sector, the police, and local authorities. Inequalities in health and deprivation have been proven as being a contributing factor for both becoming an offender and the likelihood of becoming a victim.

We’ve teamed up with the Safer Somerset Partnership to host this a free themed workshop, which will be an opportunity to:

  • Find out about the role of the Safer Somerset Partnership – including its plan for 2017 – 2021
  • Understand safeguarding referral pathways and find out what to do if you have concerns
  • Learn about the multi-agency One Teams across Somerset, where they operate, and how you can link in with them
  • Gain an understanding of ‘County Lines’ and its prevalence in our County

The Local Authorities and Police want to use this as an opportunity to find out about the good work that is happening across the county, and to hear where the gaps/issues are, and explore how this can be better resourced and supported.

In addition, you’ll get the chance to hear about successful community safety initiatives in the county that have been led by the VCSE sector.

It’s being held on Tuesday 2nd July, from 1:30pm to 4:30pm at Long Sutton Golf Club. Booking is essential – register here.

Enhance Social Enterprise Programme – upcoming opportunities

Somerset Development Programme with The School for Social Entrepreneurs Dartington
Applications are now open for The School for Social Entrepreneurs Dartington’s Somerset Development Programme. This is a fully funded Programme for established social enterprises looking to grow and will be held in Taunton on four days over three months from 19 June 2019.  The Programme will provide an opportunity to meet other social entrepreneurs in the area. For more information about the Programme and to download an application form, visit the Dartington School for Social Entrepreneurs website:

Purposeful Business: Balancing Profit and Principles workshop with the Real Ideas Organisation
Are you trying to understand the impact and implications of shifting business trends and stay ahead of the game? Are you looking for sustainable approaches to improving positivity and productivity in your business? This exclusive one-day workshop, hosted by the Real Ideas Organisation, will bring together practical activities, inspiration from guest speakers, and experts in ethical business to help you learn, debate and create a purpose-driven model that works for you. This workshop will be run on 16 May and 23 May from 8:15am – 2:00pm, with an optional additional 1-to-1 workshop from 2:00pm – 4:00pm at the Red Brick Building, Glastonbury and will include a free breakfast and lunch. Register here:

This Programme and these workshops are funded by the Enhance Social Enterprise Programme which provides a minimum of 12 hours fully funded business support to social enterprises in Somerset and Devon. For more information about the Enhance Social Enterprise Programme and to register for support visit the website: