Why support voluntary and community sector leaders?
Good leadership is key to delivering high-quality services in any sector, and the voluntary and community sector (VCS) plays a vital role in health and care, reaching into all sections of the community.
Our work with some of those leaders has highlighted some sector-specific issues, including:
- the range and complexity of the leadership role
- persistent funding and sustainability challenges
- isolation and lack of confidence
- a lack of leadership development opportunities
- difficulties in creating meaningful engagement with the public sector and commissioners.
What is Cascading Leadership?
The Cascading Leadership programme was developed in 2015 to enable us to explore a new way of building leadership skills and strengthening collaboration across the voluntary and community sector. It enables VCS leaders to share their extensive and varied expertise with peers, to talk about some of the challenges they face and to plan new ways of working.
During the programme, a Cascading Leadership consultant (an experienced VCS leader) is matched with a Cascading Leadership partner (a VCS leader seeking support). The consultant and partner meet at least five times over a period of eight months. During these meetings, the partner has an opportunity to work through organisational issues and receive support. The consultant also benefits from being stretched to develop their own leadership and skills, while being supported and supervised by senior staff at The King’s Fund. There is no charge for the programme, which is valued at £5,800 for each pair. It is being funded by the Big Lottery Fund using money raised thanks to National Lottery players.
Cascading Leadership is distinctive in that:
- people who provide support to other VCS organisations are themselves leaders in the VCS, so they understand strengths and challenges in the sector
- it develops the skills of the leaders both receiving and providing the support, building leadership across the sector
- those providing the support are supervised and trained by senior staff at The King’s Fund.