Two smiling women hold an award certificate

Social circus leader wins leadership bursary

Published : 10/12/19 | Categories: Funding |

Karen Chalk of Circus Eruption was announced as the winner of the £2,500 bursary at WCVA’s AGM and Annual Lecture in Llandudno.

The bursary will enable Karen to embark on a whistle-stop tour of social/arts enterprises in the UK who/which combine sustainable income streams with social impact.

Karen leads Circus Eruption, a Swansea-based charity which has been active since 1991, and is an integration project using circus to engage, empower and inspire young people aged 11-19.

They began by running weekly workshops for young people with and without statements or labels of disability, and over the years have  grown to also run long term circus workshops for younger children, for young people who are refugees and asylum seekers, who are ‘looked after’, or on the edge of care, as well as a regular weekend circus for children to bring their parents/carers, a volunteer/18+ skills share session and fee-paying external workshops.

Circus Eruption have now bought a building and are looking at ways in which they can sustainably add to their social value.

The bursary will also pay for Karen to participate in Enterprising Leadership courses with the Social Enterprise Academy Cymru which aims to ‘support leaders to become more deliberately enterprising’.

‘The panel thought Karen’s application was really interesting – the answers were detailed and it’s clear that she recognises what her gaps in knowledge are,’ says Matt Brown, Assistant Director of Investments at WCVA.

‘She sees that this bursary has an opportunity that she wants to grasp by learning from others to maximise the assets that Circus Eruption have.

‘We look forward to seeing how Karen shares the learning with the wider sector.’

Launched on 8 August 2017 at the National Eisteddfod on Anglesey, with members of Walter’s family, The Walter Dickie Leadership Bursary was set up by WCVA in memory of a long standing and warmly regarded charity sector advocate.

Each year WCVA will award £2,500 to support an individual in the voluntary sector in Wales to become a better and more entrepreneurial leader.

‘I’ve never done any kind of leadership or management training – I recognise this as a gap as we need to consider developing more of a social business, and this would add considerably to my knowledge and skills,’ says Karen.

‘The experiences I’ll gain through this bursary will help me support the organisation as confidently as possible in a time of massive change.

‘Together we should then be in a better place to create robust, exciting, and feasible plans AND see them through!’

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