Just months after successfully completing Clore Social’s Fellowship Programme for Experienced Leaders, two of our fellows joined forces and secured an impressive £500k contract from the Department for Education for an innovative project supporting young people in education by providing tailor-made educational and therapeutic intervention for the pupil and their family.
Michelle Hill, CEO of TLC: Talk, Listen, Change and Nick Bent, CEO of Tutor Trust talked to us about their journey of collaboration and discussed how combining the expertise of their respective organisations allowed them to reach higher.
1. How did Clore Social's Fellowship Programme help you with this collaboration?
For starters, we first met through being 2017 Fellows, and we were the only two from Manchester. We were also in the same – brilliant and ongoing – Action Learning Set, so we got to know each other. The 2017 fellows really clicked and our whole cohort has been fizzing with all sorts of collaboration, formal and informal. It’s just so useful, and fun to boot.
As the formal fellowship activities drew to a close, the two of us were keen to meet up regularly for lunch in Manchester and it has been an ongoing conversation. We actually did a lot of the prep for this joint project over a coffee at Euston after one of our ALS get-togethers.
2. What motivated you to initiate this partnership?
Both our organisations have a healthy collaborative culture and we rely on an extended network of partnerships to thrive and succeed, so it seemed natural to be on the lookout for chances to collaborate. As the people who founded or co-founded our charities and who serve as the CEOs, being alert to opportunities for collaboration is a core part of the job. It’s a strong leadership instinct.
Plus, the work each organisation does overlaps, especially when dealing with young people with complex needs who need and deserve additional support. It was just a good fit for both of us.
We took the government at its word when they said they were in the market for innovative approaches to supporting young people in Alternative Provision, and we just went for it: an ambitious, well-resourced project to pilot a radical new approach.
3. What were the leadership abilities necessary for this collaboration to succeed?
The hard part of this collaboration is yet to begin! We will start delivering joined-up services to young people during the autumn term, so that will be the real test. As for our winning pitch to government, there were some important, Clore-fuelled factors to our success:
First, imagination. The germ of an idea for jointly trying something new quickly became a fully-formed plan with a chunky budget. We could both see how this could be life-changing for young people in Greater Manchester, and something that could potentially be scaled up across the country. The prize was there in our mind’s eye.
Second, an openness to taking calculated risks. Putting in the bid took an awful lot of time and effort, and we were up against a tight deadline (midnight on a Sunday – thanks for that, Whitehall). We knew that competition for funding would be fierce, so it might all be a waste of energy. And we knew that, even if we won, this would be a challenging project to run. But our idea was absolutely in line with our charitable aims and ethos, so we felt it was worth a punt.
Third, there was a lot of trust between us: Both between the two of us individually, that each of us would put in the hours and devote the headspace to getting the bid ready on time and to completing it to a high standard; and also a high degree of confidence in the professionalism and dedication of our respective teams and the quality of the work we could do with these young people. We really believed that, together, our two charities could make a massive success of this opportunity. Our bid reflected that assuredness, and it worked.
Tutor Trust is a multi-award winning education charity that specialises in high-quality academic tuition in English, Maths and Science.
TLC: Talk, Listen, Change is a relationships charity with expertise in counselling, family support and other support services that will strengthen inter-generational and other relationships in relation to children’s education.