Leadership support programme for health charities launched

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The Cascading Leadership programme, a collaboration between The King’s Fund and the Big Lottery Fund using National Lottery money, has opened for applications today, Wednesday 24 October.

The programme, now in its third year, offers free support, advice and training to the leaders of health and wellbeing charities based on a ground-breaking model of peer-to-peer support. To date, it has supported 120 voluntary and community sector (VCS) leaders and is now offering a further 64 places on this year’s programme.

In a challenging external environment for many VCS organisations, independent evaluation has shown that the programme can support organisations to tackle the challenges they face and develop the skills and confidence of leaders, while building cross-sector collaboration and peer support. 

Successful applicants to the programme will be matched into pairs, with a consultant (an established charity leader) working with a partner (a leader who is seeking support). A distinctive aspect of the programme is that those providing the support are current leaders in the sector, who develop their leadership skills and receive training and supervision from The King’s Fund, while they are supporting another organisation.   

The programme is open to leaders from all health and wellbeing charities, from small start-ups or support groups to major national organisations. This year it is particularly keen to support smaller and newer charities. Applications are currently open for 32 consultant and 32 partner roles. The programme is valued at nearly £6,000 for each pair, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, using money raised for good causes by the National Lottery. 

Lisa Weaks, Head of Third Sector at The King’s Fund, said: 

'Leading a charity is becoming an increasingly demanding task, with many juggling funding pressures, coping with increasing need for their services and managing organisational change. Developing collaborative, experienced and resilient leaders has never been more pressing, but dedicating time and money to this can seem like a luxury. We are proud of our successful cascading leadership programme, which recognises and builds on the extensive skills and assets in the voluntary and community sector while developing skills and collaboration across the sector.'

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said: 

'We are committed to helping create a civil society in which communities thrive. Generous leadership has a vital role to play – bringing together third sector leaders in collaborative and mutually beneficial relationships means they can share strengths and experience and work together towards common goals. We’re delighted that National Lottery players are supporting the Cascading Leadership programme in this important drive.'

Notes to editors

Find out more about the Cascading Leadership programme here: https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/courses/cascading-leadership-programme

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact the Press and Public Affairs team on 020 7307 2585 (if calling out of hours, please ring 07584 146035).

The King's Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible health and care is available to all.