Meet our Social Leaders


Full list of Fellows
Nicola Sansom

Nicola Sansom

Type of Fellowship: Specialist
Year of Fellowship: 2014

Oak Foundation Fellow

Update Spring 2014

How have you found your first few months as a Clore Social Fellow?

The start of the Fellowship has felt like a whirlwind. So many people to meet, ideas to explore and potential paths it could lead you on if you let it.

It has been a time of making choices: choosing my coach, deciding my leadership development plan, and which training courses might benefit me the most. The opportunities seem endless, so honing them down has been exciting but also much harder than I thought. My natural tendency is to want to try to do everything and I’m not used to having so much choice available!

Have there been any challenges so far?

My greatest challenge so far has been trying to juggle everything – to be able to give the Fellowship the head space and time that it needs, while also still ensuring I can focus energy on my charity to have the most positive impact it can, and making sure I give my family and friends the time and care that they need too. These three things will be there with me over the next two years so it’s about finding the right balance – which I think I’m finally getting closer to. 

How has your Leadership had an impact on those you work with?

This quarter we got three years of funding to expand a project that we piloted in Uganda this winter. It was a real team effort that I have been leading on: to design, implement, improve and apply for funding. This project that will give a minimum of 20 families per year a chance to evaluate their skills and then have a six month tailored programme of training and mentoring to develop their skills, ultimately their income earning potential. 

Through doing this we are aiming to give families a chance to develop confidence in their own skills and abilities and give them a start so they can work themselves up towards being fully able to care for their own children’s needs again. So this project will allow us to work hand in hand with very poor families (often headed by one parent only) to make sure that their children can come home and stay home from the streets and be able to go to school.

In what way are you a better leader now than at the start of the Fellowship? 

I would say I’m much more self-aware and open to trying things in a way that is not within my normal comfort zone. I am questioning myself and my team more to help us all to have a deeper understanding of why we do things and why we work the way we do together. This will hopefully help us to appreciate the skills and way of working we have within the team. This will make us a stronger group who can have a bigger impact together.

Tell us an about an important lesson you have learnt so far on the Fellowship

I have learnt that my organisation has a young and supportive trustee board and how unusual this is. I see it as a positive, and a huge potential that we can build on. We can address the need to become a bit more challenging, diversify, and gain different skill sets within our governance group.

What have you learnt from your fellow Fellows?

I have learnt so much from them, but there are a few things in particular that have stood out. One piece of advice from a Fellow was 'be brave and follow your gut instincts about people, do try to get a big funder on board, it will make others trust you and then potentially follow suit'.

Another lesson I have learnt from the Fellows is 'don’t try to do everything – focus on a few things and do them really well. Write the idea down and come back to it later – you don’t have to do everything right this minute.'

It has really struck me that Fellows have been able to be so open during our Action Learning  Sets. This takes the experience to a much deeper level.

How would you describe your journey as a Clore Social Fellow so far?
A whirlwind of people and ideas to discover which is carving out exciting new paths for me to explore!


This photo is a picture of the land that S.A.L.V.E. bought in Uganda last year at the same time that I found out that I had gotten the Fellowship. It’s five acres – and currently has a two roomed house and a very large chicken shed on it. When other people look at this land they might see a green empty space – but I see the potential and the plans me and my team have made together for it. A place of learning, of peace and rehabilitation for the families and young people that we work with as part of their journey to leave the streets. In five years this will have a complex of buildings on it, both residential and for teaching, as well as a permaculture farm to learn best practice from. It will also have Uganda’s first dedicated drug addiction rehab centre for young people. We have just started making the proper architectural plans now and we are starting our farm – it feels like we are on our way to be able to make our plans and ideas into reality at last!

Twitter: @nicolasansom, @SalveInt, @PeakDChallenge

Current principal role: CEO
Current principal organisation: S.A.L.V.E. International
Other leadership role 1: Member
Other organisation 1: Federation of Small Charities Council
Other leadership role 2: Entrepreneur in Residence
Other organisation 2: Lancaster University Management School

Research: How can you measure magic? How can smaller organisations, especially those working with street-connected young people, measure impact?
Secondment host: CHETNA

Contact us
0207 812 3770
5th Floor, Kings Place, 90 York Way
London, N19AG

Charity: 1136727
Reg: 7222275
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