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

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:

The Good Lunch

The popular charity leaders’ networking lunch returns in June.

The lunches are a chance for as senior charity sector leaders to come together. As usual, there will be a rotating table place to ensure that attendees can have useful conversations with as many people as possible.

Guest speaker, be Justin Roxburgh, Chief Executive at ARC, will give a talk on ‘demonstrating value – the power of a £1 spent with your charity’.

The Good Lunch will be held at The Brewhouse Theatre and Arts Centre, Taunton, from 12pm to 2pm, on Wednesday 5th June.

Tickets are £19.50 and include a two course lunch and refreshments.

Find out more and book your space here.