Childhood Trust: Transition to Trading

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: Good news – we’re still going ahead with this programme! Don’t worry, activities will happen online or by phone, not in-person. We have suspended in-person activities for the time-being, in line with government guidelines. Instead, we will deliver learning online, and adapt content to suit your needs during these challenging times. (If you can’t access online learning, we’ll try to find another format that is accessible for you.) Please bear in mind that some of the info below may suggest in-person activities. We will update this as soon as we can – thanks for bearing with us during this busy time.


Applications for this programme have closed. Discover other courses and support programmes near you.

We understand that, in uncertain times, diversifying your income streams is more important than ever. This free learning programme helps you transition to trading.  It’s for CEOs and directors of London-based charities and social enterprises that support children and young people from low-income backgrounds.

About the programme

The Transition to Trading programme is run by the School for Social Entrepreneurs, a charity that has been supporting charity-leaders and social entrepreneurs with learning for 22 years. It is funded by the Childhood Trust.

The programme will take part in a series of sessions spread over four months, and you’ll be in a group of 10-15 people at a similar stage to you. You’ll form a trusted support network, as well as the skills and knowledge needed to diversify your income.

Full information is in FAQ below.

Key benefits

  • A free learning programme, to help you diversify your income and develop your leadership skills
  • An opportunity to meet regularly with other people running organisations like yours, so you can help each other out

Programme objectives

  • Increase your understanding and confidence in managing finances for diversification
  • Develop a plan to implement new business opportunities
  • Increase skills and confidence in leading teams for diversification and sustainability
  • Develop a more entrepreneurial mind-set and strengthen your leadership skills

Who can take part?

  • You’re a CEO or director of a charity or CIC in London that supports children or young people from low-income backgrounds
  • Your organisation will likely have been active for at least two years, and your turnover is probably between £100k and £2m (please talk to us if you don’t fit into this bracket but would still benefit from the programme)
  • You are actively planning – or already trying – to diversity your income through trading

Applications for this programme have closed. Discover other courses and support programmes near you.

Photo of Navedia Young of Neurodiversity Learning, with text of quote: "We shared ideas and questioned each other, which helped me reflect on how to make my programme stronger and better"

Our commitment to diversity, inclusion and accessibility

We recognise that discrimination of all sorts infiltrate every part of our society, and we are working hard to counter that wherever we find it. To that end, we actively encourage applications from people of all faiths, races, gender identities, sexual orientations, economic circumstances and backgrounds, as well as those from disabled communities. No educational qualifications are needed to join our programmes.

If any of the information on this page is not accessible to you, please contact Briana on [email protected] / 0207 089 9120. We will do our best to share it in a format that is accessible to you.

Reasonable adjustments regarding accessibility will be made to ensure all are welcomed onto the programme. Please get in touch with [email protected] / 0207 089 9120 if you have questions or concerns – we’re happy to talk things through.


Am I eligible?

About you

  • You will be the CEO or director of the organisation who has decision making authority to implement changes as a result of the learning. If you are leading a project within a larger organisation please contact us to discuss this.
  • You are committed to learning and to attending the whole of the learning programme
  • You are committed to meeting and sharing with others who have been through and are going through the same process.

Your organisation

  • Small to medium size charities and social enterprises, supporting children and young people from low-income backgrounds, actively planning to or already trying to diversify their income streams and transition to a model that includes trading income, either by growing existing trading activity or developing new earned income models.
  • Your organisation will have been active for over two years with at least two members of staff and your turnover will be between £100k and £2m. Please talk to us if either your income is outside of this or you are applying as a project of a larger organisation, and you can demonstrate that you would benefit from the learning programme.
  • You must be a registered Charity or a CIC and be able to demonstrate that your organisation reinvests the majority of its surplus funds for a social purpose and has an ‘asset lock’, meaning that it must distribute any assets for social purposes, if wound up.
  • You are based in London with the majority of your beneficiaries in London

When and where does the programme take place?

It takes place in four ‘learning blocks’ between April – July 2020, in London Bridge. The venues will always be wheelchair-accessible.

Each learning block is two days, back-to-back: 1.5 learning sessions and a half-day of Action Learning Sets.

Programme dates are:

  • 7th & 8th April
  • 6th & 7th May
  • 11th & 12th June
  • 14th & 15th July

Please email [email protected]  if you need further information.

What will I learn?

You’ll learn about areas such as:

Finances for Diversification

  • What charities can trade and where social enterprise fits into this
  • How to build the most effective finance function to support diversification
  • Analysing your cost and fund accounting, full cost recovery and balance sheet to better understand your current performance
  • Financial planning and resourcing new services and the organisation’s risk appetite

Building a broader income base

  • Rethinking our funding (strategic context, changing funding landscape, business model)
  • Organisational implications
  • Making it happen – identifying your value and commercial potential
  • Costing & pricing strategies

Leadership for Sustainability

  • Leadership confidence and leading change
  • Using team motivational types to optimise team performance
  • Understand and apply change leadership approaches
  • Changing behaviours to develop your desired organisational type/culture

Developing Your Team for Growth and Diversification

  • Building the team you’ll need tomorrow
  • Playing to your strengths as a charity & making recruitment work for you
  • Inducting people to get more than you give
  • Growth and development of your people & living your culture
  • Planning for change, people leaving and succession
  • Developing a high performance board

Venture Model Canvas

  • Creating a one-page model of your new product/service opportunity, as a communication tool to take back to your team

I have access needs. How will you support my needs?

At SSE, we strive to make our learning accessible to everyone. Please email [email protected] if you have any access needs, and we will do our very best to accommodate and support you.

Photo of Naomi Marek OBE, of award-winning charity Sky Badger, with quote: "The SSE programme took my network through the roof! It taught me so much."

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