Brathay Hall is the venue for a celebration for 17 aspiring leaders helping communities in Barrow, Workington, Whitehaven, Aspatria, Carlisle, Brampton, Kendal, Morecambe and Lancaster whilst studying a Degree in Social Enterprise Leadership.

Run by a partnership of the University of Cumbria, us and Common Purpose, the Aspiring Leaders Programme (ALP) is for 18-32 year olds interested in a career in the local voluntary and community sector. Those nominated study a three year course combining academic teaching with experiential learning and personal development. It includes residentials at Brathay Hall, lectures and seminars at the University of Cumbria, and mentoring and leadership development days with Common Purpose. This is supplemented with work placements with the elderly, housing associations, mental health charities, arts and community hubs and schools.

Programme Leader Andy Woodhead from Brathay explains why they are celebrating.

“Stepping out of the routine of work, family and social life to study a full-time degree is a massive undertaking. All the students have responded in a really inspiring way by diving head-first into the world of academia while treading the fine line of work-life balance; often juggling jobs, volunteering, and the family with reading and compiling reports, essays and portfolios. It’s been far from easy. This is about looking back, taking stock and thanking those who are supporting them on this great learning journey.” added Andy.

Joining the celebrations are two sponsors who each fund one student place; the Kendal office of wealth management company Rathbone Brothers PLC and the Langdale Timeshare Owners Club. 

Dan Visser says for the Timeshare Owners Club it was a way to recognise their connection to the West Coast. For the last 25 years people from the area have travelled in each day to look after the time shares. Anne Durnall, deputy managing director said: "We are always keen to support the communities of members of our team and the Aspiring Leaders Programme was the perfect opportunity for us to do this. We are proud to be involved with such an inspiring programme and are equally proud of what the participants have achieved.”

Richard Dawson, regional director at Rathbones Kendal said:

“We are very happy to support the ALP and admire everything it stands for. Nurturing Cumbrian talent, supporting the local community and encouraging great people to stay in the county are all crucial to our own future success, so it makes sense for us to support a programme that embodies all these elements. We look forward to celebrating with the Aspiring Leaders - it will be a well-deserved evening of recognition for all their hard work.”

The students, their family and friends, as well as host organisations, will gather for a BBQ on the front lawn of Brathay Hall from 5.30pm on Friday 29 June.

ALP is primarily funded by the Francis C Scott Charitable Trust, with additional financial input from the Sir John Fisher Foundation.