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New Leadership Programme for 2021: Building the financial resilience of leaders in the third sector

National Lottery project helps VCSE sector plan for future


The National Lottery Community Fund has today announced a major investment to support VCSE leaders across NI to improve their financial skills and plan for the future.


CO3 (Chief Officers Third Sector) has been awarded a grant of £276,538 to develop a five-year project to provide mentors for 30 leaders to support them to develop a long-term financial strategy for their organisation.


When many organisations are facing uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, research shows (NICVA’s State of the Sector Report) that most VCSE sector organisations do not have a long-term plan for income generation. The CO3 project will also have a chance to share their experiences and learn from others in the sector.


Nora Smith, Chief Executive Officer of CO3 said: “One of the biggest issues facing charities today is how to manage their financial resilience and sustainability. Organisations are not thinking strategically about their income generation - this is not a flaw or fault, but a symptom of the environment in which we are trying to lead and work. There is a reliance on public sector funding, that goes down every year, but demand for services has never been higher.


“There is nothing like this project out there and this goes way above and beyond the standard fundraising programmes, offering ongoing support, learning and development for long-term, as well as access to a range of training programmes and advice from the wider cohort.


“It is desperately needed at this time, and I want to thank The National Lottery Community Fund for investing in this key project and National Lottery players for making the money possible.”


Mentors will be people who have a proven track record in achieving against the odds, who will inspire and share their learning and techniques for long term success. They will create a plan with their mentee with targets, helping increase current income streams and identify and develop new ones, completely changing the outlook.


Anne-Marie McClure, Vice Chair of CO3 said: “Even before the pandemic, the sector was facing a range of financial pressures and challenges.  CO3 believe we can improve the capacity of the third sector through the development of this tailored mentoring programme. 


“As a condition of taking part, at the end of the mentoring relationship, the mentees will then assume the role of mentors for the next recruits. Through this approach, the learning and experience gained will filter through the third sector, enhancing its overall capacity.”


Mentors will be matched with mentees who are third sector leaders and whose organisations meet a set of criteria that show they would benefit most from enhancing existing income streams and developing new ones.


Kate Beggs, Northern Ireland Director of The National Lottery Community Fund said: “It’s inspiring to see leaders rise to the challenges faced by communities at this time. I’m delighted that we are able to support this important project which will help pave the way for the VSCE sector through succession planning for the future.


"National Lottery players can be proud to know that the money they raise is making such a difference across Northern Ireland.”


If you would like more information please contact CO3's CEO Nora Smith nora@co3.bz or visit the Financial Resilience Leadership Programme section of our website



Photo caption:

Kate Beggs, NI Director of The National Lottery Community Fund presents a big cheque for £276,538 to Nora Smith, Chief Executive Officer and Anne-Marie McClure, Vice Chair of CO3 (Chief Officers Third Sector), who have been awarded a National Lottery grant to support VCSE leaders, helping them develop a long-term financial strategy for their organisation.