A Vision and Mission for Elsie….

Here is a first stab at a draft vision and mission for Elsie following our recent development meeting.  Please share your thoughts and responses.  What have we missed?  How can me make it more powerful?  More appealing?  More impactful?


Leeds: a flourishing city where communities, enterprises and individuals help each other to achieve their potential



Elsie exists to help Leeds enterprises and projects of all kinds succeed, by providing free ideas and advice from a network of supporters. We aim to foster a culture of mutual support throughout the city by constantly growing the number of supporters and people we help.

How Elsie Works


  • Gives free support to any Leeds business, charity, social enterprise or community project
  • Works through advocates, who gather feedback for those seeking help from panels of trained supporters
  • Maintains high standards of competence, confidentiality and integrity
  • Does not provide ongoing or more specialised support but can advise people where to find this

Elsie Development Meeting – April 2012

First of all a big thanks to the dozen or so of you who made it and to the couple who tried in vain!

We worked in three groups, each focussing on developing specific suggestions that could be implemented to take Elsie to the next level. Each group looked at a difference function:

  1. Strategy and Governance of Elsie
  2. Improving Services to Members and Clients
  3. Marketing and PR

As a starter for 10 Mike offered the following mindmap.

Strategy and Governance Group

So main priority is to clarify vision and values.  Soft approach suggests that at this stage we stay in a loose coalition of citizens format rather than go for a properly constituted group, although this remains a key decision to be taken.  Can we realise ambitions for quality and growth, should they exist, without forming a legal entity?

Anyone fancy having a stab at producing a first draft of any of these things?  Vision and Values?  Rights and responsibilities of members etc?  Standards specifying what members and clients can expect from Elsie?

Improving Products and Services

These are just some notes I was jotting down as the group talked ideas through. Their specific recommendations are here:

I think the case study work can happen pretty quickly as Tess from the university has some ideas on how this can be done while giving students valuable work experience.  And I will start some work on clarifying vision values etc…

Marketing and PR Group

So, once again, if I have got this right the main challenge is to revisit the core message.  What is Elsie…, what do we do etc.

Look to feed regular case studies into local media

Build a team of Elsie ambassadors so it is not just Mike berating people to help!

Anything else big, important and doable that I have missed?

Tess is already laying plans to shoot video witness testimony from both panel members and clients that can be published in both video form and transcribed.

I am going back into wordsmith mode to develop values, vision, core message stuff….

Is there anything here that YOU fancy taking on?

Future Thinking

Whether or not we choose to formalise the entity that is Elsie, I think we do need to give it some more structure and leadership.  We need to focus on:

  • Service Development – making things better for members and clients
  • Marketing and PR – spreading the word, recruiting members, publicising successes etc
  • Strategy and Governance – plotting future developments – realising the vision….

To make this happen I propose that in September when we are 1 year old we should have a celebration at which we get to choose the people who might like to lead in each of these areas and help them to form ‘working parties of the willing’ to drive things along.

I also think that we should elect an Elsie ‘Head Honcho’ with a one year term to help provide leadership and direction and ensure that the three working parties are co-ordinated and effective.

This would provide the opportunity for more people to share in the leadership and development of Elsie, to learn stuff, develop skills etc and ensure that ownership was broad-based.

We could make birthday party and election/re-election of ‘officers’ an annual celebratory gathering.  Thoughts? Opinions? Party organisers?

Many thanks again for the help today folks.  If you missed and want to know more do use the comments box to raise questions or drop me an email.