The Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) today launches a new leadership programme for community business leaders in the South West to develop their skills and connect with their peers across England.
Twelve business leaders from ten community businesses including a Gloucestershire village shop, a Grade II listed community-owned arts venue in Falmouth and a community energy company in Plymouth have been selected to take part in the six-month programme.
“We believe different types of community business, like different types of business, may need different leadership styles to be more resilient.” Said Anthony Painter, Director of the Action and Research Centre at the RSA. “We’ll be helping this cohort develop their leadership skills which will enable them to make their community businesses more sustainable and connect the growing sector to the wider business world as well as their local communities.”
The Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) and the Sheffield University Management School will work in partnership with the RSA to deliver the six month programme, commissioned by Power to Change, the organisation set up by the Big Lottery Fund to support and grow community businesses in England.
The South West has a thriving community business sector, and the finalists, which include the Onion Collective, leading the regeneration of the coastal town of Watchet in West Somerset, community-run Crediton Community Bookshop, and the Pantry Partnership, a community organisation that runs cooking workshops to improve the wellbeing of Salisbury residents, reflect the diversity of the community business sector.
The Pantry Partnership, one of the community businesses selected for the programme
Fiona Ollerhead from The Pantry Partnership said: “I’m delighted to be a part of what I see to be a pioneering programme. I am keen to meet others who are doing inspiring things in their community and work with them to trail-blaze and enable others to achieve more for their communities.”
Across England, community businesses grew by 9% in 2015 to a total of over 5,650, generated income of £900 million to help make local places better, and worked with over 170,000 volunteers (1). This new leadership programme takes a new approach that aims to help the sector grow further.
Elizabeth Corrado, Head of Market Development for Power to Change said: “The Community Business Leaders programme is essential to accelerate the growth of the community business sector. We want to inspire and develop tomorrow’s leaders and the South West, which is home to many innovative community businesses, is a great place to start. This initiative provides a fantastic opportunity for any potential community business leader to gain skills to help them to transform their local area.”
The full list of organisations participants in the leadership programme originate from is detailed below: