Helping Elsie…

Leeds Community Enterprise (Elsie for short) is an enterprise accelerator.  It is run by a group of trained volunteers drawn from all walks of Leeds life that meet for 2 hours every month to brainstorm advice, guidance and support for anyone in Leeds who is looking to advance a particular project but needs help.

Elsie not only offers practical and technical advice, but will also act as point of contact into other Leeds support networks.  She provides a source of wisdom, advice and practical support that can be used by anyone in Leeds who is undertaking any kind of enterprise.  It may be a business, a campaign, community group or any other project.  Elsie helps anyone who is looking to make progress, but needs a bit of a boost.

Elsie provides a service that is confidential, competent and caring.

Elsie meetings are fun, fast moving, practically focussed and above all helpful – and not just for the people who are seeking support.

Want to get involved?

All that is required is that you attend a 2 hour training session.  After this you will be invited to attend our monthly panels.  You are under no obligation to attend, but we intend to make them events that you will not choose to miss.  If you think you may wish to use Elsie to help people that you are working with then you should attend advocate training.  Otherwise member training is the thing for you.

Member training site –

Advocate training site –

 What will you get from helping Elsie?

  • membership of a creative and resourceful network focussed on helping people with worthwhile projects
  • access to some really influential and well connected people
  • real tine information on the issues that block progress in our city
  • insights into the resources available in the city and how they are accessed
  • the buzz of being part of a team that provides practical and powerful help to move the city forward

The first rounds of training take place in Leeds City Centre on July 6th and 7th. There is no charge to attend, so please do sign up, come along and find out more.

Also please invite anyone who you think may find the project interesting to have a look and get involved.

Introducing Elsie – Briefing Note

5 thoughts on “Helping Elsie…

  1. Pingback: Social Capital – the difference that makes the difference? « Elsie

  2. Looks really interesting Mike. Certainly potential in this sort of approach.
    I’m interested to know more about the training element you’ve built in to the process…what’s that for? (ie why is it a condition of participation? And what does it cover?)
    The other question I have is how it will be sustained…I realise it’s pretty low cost (& hopefully hi impact!) but even small resources need to be found from somewhere….given that people are already giving time freely…will they be prepared to give money too?
    But these are just general questions of curiosity…more generally I think it’s really interesting and will be keen to follow progress as it unfolds!
    Good luck and let me know if there’s anything I can do to help!

    • Toby

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Training is essential for several reasons. Firstly it means that the meetings happen effectively and efficiently as people know the ropes. A number of ‘technical issues’ also have to be covered off – handling conflicts of interest, managing confidentiality, responding, rather than diagnosing and advising, working creatively as a large group, capturing information to take back to the client and so on. It also helps people to learn a little more before they commit to attend Elsie meetings. Confidentiality is perhaps the big one here in terms of wining the trust of potential service users…

      Financial sustainability is an interesting one. Operating costs are relatively small as existing coaches and advisers will be covered by their own indemnity insurance and so on, but each meeting will cost a few hundred pounds. At the moment wonderful sponsors are offering us rooms and refreshments free of charge. I reckon total operating costs will be in the region of £9000 per year (assuming 12 monthly meetings and regular training for new panel members and advocates and paying for training, administration and venues) with perhaps another £5000 of costs in the setup and training phase.

      In year one the costs per client will be under £390 dropping to £250 in subsequent years.

      But of course it is not only the clients who derive benefits. Panel members too will learn to use each others resources. Because Elsie is not focussed on any specific policy goals, and instead responds to the real needs articulated by clients, it is proving difficult to engage funders who are looking to buy specific policy outcomes. In my opinion this is major problem for much decent bottom up community development work.

      How can you help? Raise the profile of Elsie perhaps?

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