Manchester charity bosses sharpen up their skills

Published: 17 March 2014 at 12:01

New Anglia Ruskin University course is helping dozens of third sector organisations

A new university initiative is helping charity managers in the North West boost their careers and make their organisations more sustainable. 

Anglia Ruskin University offers a two-year, part-time Cert HE in Charity and Social Enterprise Management, which can be studied fully online via distance learning or with workshops in Manchester, Chelmsford or Cambridge.

And a number of Manchester charities are already benefiting from the course.  Lynne Warner, Finance Manager of Manchester Women’s Aid, said:

“In the last eight months there have been so many changes; for example we’ve merged with another organisation, there have been local government cuts, it’s been hectic! 
“My organisation felt that we needed more expertise within the team, which is why they wanted me to do the course.  The course has been really motivating because you can relate the course directly to the workplace.  We’re only four months in, and it’s already having an impact on the organisation.”

Julie Wharton, of the Hideaway Youth Project in Moss Side, said:

“I manage the project – that means doing everything – finance, marketing, leadership, you name it. 
“I need to have an expertise in everything, and I need to go to my board and say ‘we need to do this, or we need to do that’, with a strategic view, and that’s what the course has given me.  It’s definitely helped with my relationship with my board.
“The course has helped us see the bigger picture.  We’re a small charity and you can get very focused on the targets you need to meet for your funders, but perhaps we need to also look at the bigger picture.”

Andy Brady, from Anglia Ruskin University, explained the need for the course.  He said:

“What often happens in charities is that someone with a background in care, or perhaps the environment, works their way up and becomes the chief executive.  Then they think ‘how did I get here?’ and ‘am I doing it right?’ 
“Our course gives third sector leaders a combination of general management tools and techniques, along with specific modules on topics like social impact and social enterprise.  Because all the assignments are based on the student’s own organisation, their studies can have a real impact in the workplace and on their own employability.”

Meanwhile, Anglia Ruskin University is hosting “Third Sector Leadership and Management: Challenges and Opportunities” at the Mechanics Institute in Manchester on Thursday, 20 March (4pm).

The free event, supported by the Guardian Social Enterprise Network, will feature talks from John Thompson, Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at Anglia Ruskin University, and Gail Heath, chief executive of Manchester Women’s Aid.  They will discuss the challenges facing the third sector in the next 10 years and how third sector can learn from entrepreneurs.

To reserve a place on the free event, please visit

Further information about the course is available at