New programme launching to support Region’s brightest up-and-coming social entrepreneurs

New programme launching to support Region’s brightest up-and-coming social entrepreneurs

The new Emerge social enterprise programme will see fifteen students embark on an eight -week journey to build a new social enterprise or community business that will directly support local people and improve the relationship between Liverpool’s local communities and the students who live there short-term while studying at the University.

The programme, which begins in February, will be delivered by the Capacity team across eight weekly workshops and will see students learn about:

  • community consultation,
  • feasibility studies,
  • business planning,
  • financial modelling,
  • communications,
  • governance,
  • business development,
  • fundraising and,
  • impact.

At the end of the programme, students will pitch their social enterprise idea back to the community and lay down a realistic timeframe for its delivery. The overall aim of the programme will be to promote better awareness between students and their neighbours and will mark the start of a sustainable social enterprise that exists to educate students who move into these communities in the future.

Chris Witterick, Partnerships Manager at Capacity, said:

I am delighted to be working with the University of Liverpool to the deliver the third Emerge programme. After two fantastic years developing the city’s next generation of entrepreneurs, we will be supporting a new cohort of students to conceive and launch a community business which will directly improve people’s lives. The programme will mostly be delivered by the Capacity team, who have a range of different skills and work closely with some of the city’s most impactful community organisations. This is our most ambitious programme yet, but I can’t wait to get started!
Chris Witterick
Partnerships Manager
Meanwhile, Emma More, Director of Careers & Employability at The University of Liverpool added:
I am excited that we have once again been able to renew our partnership with Capacity to develop future entrepreneurs firmly rooted in the Liverpool City Region. As we enter the third year of the Emerge programme, it is great to see an increased focus on social enterprise, combining Capacity’s skillset with the passion of many of our students. A perfect programme for this time of recovery when an increased focus on ‘community’ is more important than ever.
Emma Moore
Director of Careers & Employability, University of Liverpool

Children’s Residential in the Liverpool City Region: It’s time to shake things up

Children’s Residential Care in Liverpool City Region: It’s time to shake things up

Today the children’s residential marketplace is overwhelmed by organisations that are ultimately led by profit, not purpose. Where homes aren’t privately-owned, they are run by Local Authorities or by the voluntary sector and even then, it’s a challenge (due to scale, capacity or red tape) to really shake things up.

It’s frustrating for those of us working in the sector, so how must it feel for a young person living in it?

Over the last eighteen months Capacity has worked with care-experienced young people in the North West, and the commissioners who are responsible for their care. What did we find? That they all agree on one thing: we need to stop expecting change if we keep doing things the same way. Young people want us as providers to put the focus of residential children’s homes in the ‘right’ places – on giving stability, hope and opportunity to every young person they engage with. We believe this can and will happen, and this is what Juno is here to do: introduce a model that measures success not on risks managed, audits completed or beds filled but on heads stimulated, hearts warmed and hands held.

We Are Juno CIC will be owned by the team who work there, meaning everyone has an interest in it being the best it can be. So, we’ve got the thoughts of the young people, we’ve got the plans to work, we’ve got our first home being setup, now we need great people to join the Juno team.

We’re looking for a Head of Homes and a Registered Manager to help us make this way of thinking a reality for children and young people in the Liverpool City Region. We want people who have big dreams for them and people who will use every bit of their being to help make those dreams a reality. If that sounds exciting to you (or someone you know), visit our Juno page and get in touch – let’s start changing lives by changing yours.

Visit Juno here.

The Capacity team is growing

The Capacity team is growing!

We’re delighted to announce that we have recruited three new positions, promoted four existing team members to Directorate level and are currently in the recruitment process for an additional two team members.

Meet the latest additions to our team:

Rachael Stott

Associate Director: Rachael is a highly-qualified communications professional with a wealth of experience in both public and third sector organisations, across Liverpool City Region. Rachael joins Capacity on a consultancy basis, developing a refreshed marketing strategy and bringing communications expertise to the senior leadership team.

Paul Simon

Development Manager (Children’s and Young People): Capacity’s newest Development Manager, Paul, will be the first member of the team with extensive Public Sector experience, and we are delighted to have this new perspective, particularly as we approach the launch of our biggest Children’s Social Care project to date. Paul will be joining the team in December, keep an eye out for more information then!

I think the internal promotions and the additional team members are a great step in recognising what we have delivered and the maturity of the organisation.
Jim Perrie
Chair, Capacity board of Representatives

We are also celebrating the promotion of four existing members of the Capacity team; a well-deserved recognition of their commitment, hard work and expertise in their respective areas.

Emma Lord

Director: Emma’s portfolio of work predominantly sits in Primary Care, working with nine Primary Care Networks (PCNs) across the North West in the past two and a half years, adding capacity to the management teams and “keeping people on track, coming up with ideas when necessary but also crystallising existing ideas.” As one GP recalls: “we wouldn’t be where we are today without Emma’s support.” Emma has also lead on a major project with Public Health England, and supported Clore Social Leadership to pilot their first ever Leadership programme in Liverpool City Region.

Grace Nolan

Director of Operations: Grace works across internal and external projects, and is described as Capacity’s ‘dedicated generalist’. Almost since Capacity's inception in 2017, she has ensured the smooth running of the organisation, be it HR, client management or project management. Externally, she is currently Project Managing a major Primary Care contract, Community Care Collaborative, as well as leading recruitment campaigns for Adult Social Care client, Catalyst Choices CIC, while writing bids to the tune of £600,000 for a client organisation working in Criminal Justice.

Sarah Morris FCA

Director of Finance: Sarah is known at Capacity for her passion for numbers and Microsoft Excel formulas. It is this passion that has led Sarah, a qualified Chartered Accountant, to leading the internal Finance team, as well as being seconded out to clients to support their account management. Recently, her time has been spent working with the SLT at Catalyst Choices, one of our Adult Social Care partner organisations, and with Community Care Collaborative, implementing more effective systems while upskilling its existing staff team.

Sophie Clarke

Director: Sophie oversees all Capacity projects sitting within Children and Young People’s Services. She is driven by achieving real and lasting improvements in children’s lives. A considerable proportion of her current work lies in establishing and developing Capacity’s first Children’s Residential Care venture, launching late 2020. In addition, Sophie is leading a number of strategic projects with Local Authorities and the third sector in Liverpool City Region, having recently produced a key report for Senior Public Service Commissioners that considers how small and local organisations can play a bigger role in public service delivery. This report will be published in January 2021.  

Social Value Policy Document

New Government Social Value Policy: What do I need to know?

Last week, HM Government announced a new model of social value for use in the awarding of central government contracts. We’ve condensed the policy into this handy factsheet so you can prepare your organisation to take advantage of the opportunities this change provides. 

What is it?

On the 24th September 2020, the Cabinet Office published a new Procurement Policy Note issuing new guidance on how social value is considered in central government procurement and commissioning. 

Called “Taking Account of Social Value in the Award of Central Government Contracts”, the note states that, “social value should be explicitly evaluated in all central government procurement”, and outlines some new recommendations and requirements. 


The government spends around £49bn of tax payers money each year on contracts for vital public services. The social value policy and its associated legal framework (see The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012) ensure that public money is spent in ways which benefit society, not just private enterprise. 

What has changed?

There are two major changes that this policy note introduces. 

The first is that social value will now be “explicitly evaluated in all central government procurement”, whereas previously social value was only “considered”. 

Secondly, whereas social value had previously been defined in terms of price, the new policy note takes into account a broader range of social goods, such as the local job creation, apprenticeships, etc. 

This broadening of the definition of social value means that a wider variety of organisations, regardless of their size, now have a more level playing field to compete for government contracts. 

What does the new model contain?

The new model sets out five high-level themes, and eight policy outcomes that organisations bidding for central government contracts will be required to demonstrate.

The themes and their associated outcomes are:

Policy Outcome
COVID-19 Recovery
Help local communities to manage and recover from the impact of COVID-19
Tackling economic inequality
Create new businesses, new jobs and new skills

Increase supply chain resilience and capacity
Fighting climate change
Effective stewardship of the environment
Equal opportunity
Reduce the disability employment gap

Tackle workforce inequality
Improve health and wellbeing

Improve community integration

When does it come into force?

The new measures will come into effect on 1st January 2021.

What do these changes mean for VCSE’s?

A minimum weighting of 10% of the total score for social value will be applied in the procurement process for central government contracts from January 1st 2020. This means that social value can now be a deciding factor in who gets awarded

This is a good thing for VCSE organisations however, as the new, broader definition of social value means organisations that may not have had the capacity to demonstrate economic social impacts can now use their track record of helping people and communities to strengthen their bids and compete more equitably with larger organisations.

What should I do?

Familiarise yourself with the new social value model
Read the policy note

Get excited!
This is great news for organisations and communities. Making the social value policy more robust means more public money being reinvested into communities, while broadening the definition of social value opens up the world of central government procurement to a wider variety of SMEs, VCSE organisations and beyond.

Check back regularly
The government have yet to publish the detailed guidance that will provide “standard award criteria, delivery objectives that describe ‘what good looks like’, and metrics for contract management and reporting”.

We’ll published another summary when that guidance arrives, so check the Capacity blog regularly for updates.


Danny Kruger Event Review

with... Danny Kruger MP

Danny is MP for Devizes and Government Advisor, Founder of ‘Only Connect’ and ‘West London Zone’. His career has spanned the Third Sector as well as Journalism and Politics.

On Wednesday 29 July, Danny joined us to discuss some of the findings of his recent report on community responses to Covid-19, which he has compiled at the request of the Prime Minister.

Some things we learned from the webinar include:

Danny is a strong advocate of the devolution of parliamentary power to local and regional level
Greater financial investment is required post Covid-19 into regional funding pots (such as Local Enterprise Partnerships and Mayoral Offices)
The surge in people who volunteered to support the NHS was remarkable; but unusual for a national call-to-action. Danny suspects that it will need to be localised in order to be sustainable in the future.
We look forward to reading Danny’s full report and will be keen to hear the responses and feedback of the VCSE sector in Liverpool City Region.

Watch the full webinar below.

I didn't anticipate to what extent people were willing to volunteer for a national effort. My belief in localism and communities, and my suspicion of government led me to believe that people don't want to volunteer for some abstract thing... even at Local Authority level. But they volunteered for the NHS in amazing numbers... the fact that people were prepared to step up for a national effort; I wonder if that's sustainable. 
Danny Kruger
MP for Devizes and Government Advisor

An Expert Marketing & Comms Panel expert marketing panel

Beth Murray – Global Lead @ Workplace for Good from Facebook.

Beth is an award winning senior communications leader with experience leading external relations, internal communications and policy across the private, public and VCSE sectors. In her current role, she supports charities and educational organisations to build and grow their organisational culture. 

Paul Corcoran  – CEO @ Agent Marketing.

Paul is CEO and founder of Agent, based in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle. In 2014, Paul founded the pioneering Agent Academy CIC, which helps young people to kickstart their digital and creative careers. He is also Deputy Chair of the Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership. 

Eleanor Riley – Communications and Policy Manager @ Redthread Youth.

Eleanor is a communications, PR, External Affairs and Policy professional, with experience across a number of sectors, including; Health, (Alder Hey) and both national and local charities. She currently leads on communications at Redthread Youth in London, a charity aiming to support and enable young people to lead healthy, safe and happy lives.

Purposeful participation & Pandemics

Purposeful participation and pandemics: Helping people to be heard when lockdown keeps you locked in

Lockdown has been full of firsts for most of us as we try to navigate moving almost every aspect of our lives online. Last week I had my first experience of presenting a webinar via Microsoft Teams Live. The webinar itself went smoothly (minus a couple of user error tech issues – all mine by the way!), the audience was engaged, sharing comments and asking questions throughout the session, and the presenters spoke passionately about the work we have been doing as a team over the past 12 months and about what we hope will happen next.

The topic of the webinar was Why Community Matters – an insight report into Early Help in Wirral for children and their families when they first start to face challenges that they cannot overcome on their own. I’ve spent the majority of the last 12 months listening, learning, writing about and listening again to families who have had good, bad and ugly experiences of getting the help they need. I’ve been desperate to share the things I’ve heard, so that steps can be taken to build on what works and get rid of what doesn’t. Ultimately, the system should work for families, rather than making families work within a system.

Ultimately, the system should work for families, rather than making families work within a system.

The report captures a huge range of life stories and is built almost entirely on the voices of the 450+ people who took part in the research, with some numbers and observations to add context. At times it’s a difficult read. Along the way we heard from a young girl whose baby sister died only a few days old, families who are managing multiple diagnoses of additional needs, families facing financial challenges and young people who are worried about their future if they don’t fit into mainstream education. However, we also heard about the life-saving networks of people created within communities that are preventing one another from tipping over into the social care system. These communities have welcomed me into their lives to share their experiences, vulnerabilities and ideas for what really effective systems need to address, and how they need to do it, without causing shame or embarrassment.

We also heard about the life-saving networks of people created within communities that are preventing one another from tipping over into the social care system.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, real people are still very much at the heart of this work; we have a team of parents and carers who have been there from the start, helping to keep us grounded in the reason we are all here, but, with families in lockdown, parents trying to master home-schooling and people trying to do their jobs from a distance, finding the time or space to think about anything that isn’t absolutely necessary for survival is quite the ask. The way forward needs to be paved by families and communities, but with them locked in during lockdown, the question for us is: how do we maintain their involvement in the most meaningful way possible?

Our next steps will be to design and test new ways of working with families to help them thrive in their communities. To do this, the families themselves, as well as the communities they’re part of, need to be involved in every step of the process.

The question for us is: how do we maintain their involvement in the most meaningful way possible?

So this piece, as well as being a reflection on how I’m managing a new way of working, is a call to action. If you have experiences or brilliant ideas to share, or if you want to be involved in any way, we want to hear from you.

Get in touch with me at

Why Community Matters Report Launched with Live Webinar

Why Community Matters Report Launched with Live Webinar!

On 9 June, the Why Community Matters report was launched through a live webinar with the Capacity Children’s team, Natalie Mansfield and Sophie Clarke, Councillor Tom Usher and Assistant Director of Children’s Services at Wirral Council, Elizabeth Hartley. More than 100 stakeholders from across the Borough tuned in.

The report, which has been over a year in the making and is the product of community consultation with more than 400 Wirral residents, will form the backbone of the redesign of Early Help services in the Borough.

To read the full report, please download it here.

Liliycross facility opens in record time

Lilycross Facility opens in record time

Halton Borough Council, with the support of local care organisation Catalyst Choices CIC, has opened the doors to Lilycross, its step-down care facility in Widnes, just four weeks after starting work on the derelict care home. 

The 60-bed facility is intended as a regional hub for people recovering from Covid-19 and other major illness. It forms an important part of a wider ‘Out of Hospital’ project happening across Cheshire and Merseyside to provide additional capacity in the community, freeing up much needed bed space in local hospitals. 

The Council commissioned the project at the beginning of April, working in partnership with Catalyst Choices, Eric Wright Health & Care and Capacity, as part of its commitment to supporting the Halton population during the outbreak of Covid-19 coronavirus. 

To support the new facility Catalyst Choices has recruited 60 people from both the local community and the healthcare sector. 

Lilycross is an extraordinary example of what can be achieved when the public, private and third sectors pull together in a common cause. This facility will free up much needed NHS beds and support the community in Halton and more widely. Just a few weeks ago this building was an empty shell and now it is a superb, fully functioning care facility which will be an invaluable resource for our local community.
Cllr Tom McInerney
Halton Borough Council
To transform an empty building into a fully functioning care facility in just over a month is a huge achievement and one that was only possible when everyone pulled together in the same direction. We are so proud to have been involved with this project and look forward to seeing its first occupants arrive this week.
Christine Winstanley
Managing Director, Eric Wright Health & Care
This is a real opportunity for the local people to play a part in the delivery of Lilycross. We have recruited a strong staff team with a mix of experienced support workers, alongside local people from outside the sector who wanted to make a difference during the coronavirus outbreak. It is great to see the whole community pulling together to make this happen so quickly at a time of national crisis.
David Osborne
Managing Director, Catalyst Choices CIC

Other members of the project team include:  Catalyst Choices; Bridgewater Community Healthcare Foundation Trust; Warrington & Halton Hospitals Foundation Trust; St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals Foundation Trust; Warrington Council; Warrington Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG); Halton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG); St Helens Council St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Capacity facilitates new partnership between South Liverpool Primary Care & Patchwork Health

Capacity facilitates new partnership between South Liverpool Primary Care and Patchwork Health to manage COVID-19 staffing demands

Capacity is delighted to announce the new partnership with between SWAGGA and Childwall Wavertree PCNs and Patchwork Health. Patchwork will support the GP teams to meet staffing demands for the NHS Covid-19 Treatment Centre in Garston, the development and launch of which Capacity has been heavily involved.

Since the Coronavirus outbreak, designated practices within Primary Care Networks (PCNs) have been dividing themselves into “hot clinics” (treating patients with symptoms of COVID-19), and “cold clinics” (treating asymptomatic patients), to ensure the continued provision of care whilst limiting both exposure to and the spread of the virus.

Through its collaboration with Patchwork Health, and with support from Capacity, South Liverpool NHS Treatment Centre has recently opened its ‘hot clinic’, staffed by primary care workers across a range of 24 practices within the Speke, Woolton, Allerton, Gateacre, Garston and Aigburth (SWAGGA) and Childwall Wavertree Primary Care Networks.

With shifts and schedules previously managed by the networks using laborious and time-consuming Excel spreadsheets, Patchwork Health has granted the PCNs full access to its digital staffing solution for the duration of the pandemic. With Patchwork Health’s user-friendly technology, GPs are now offered the ability and flexibility to self-book onto vacant shifts, as well as ensure increased fill rates for safe staffing levels, reduced admin burden and greater visibility of workforce data for managers.

Most importantly, the process has been mobilised at significant speed; with initial consultations through to implementation of the Patchwork software taking only a matter of days.

Capacity Development Manager, Emma Lord, who has been working closely with Network Leads in South Liverpool for nearly two years now, said,

On Friday, we got in touch with Patchwork with a proposal to support SWAGGA and CWN with staffing rotas. By Monday, they had developed a bespoke solution just for us. We are very grateful for the time and energy it will save the practices, which they can now dedicate to treating patients and keeping the community as healthy and resilient as possible.
Emma Lord
Development Manager, Capacity
I have been a Clinical Lead for Digital Transformation for more than 10 years - dealing with start-ups and SMEs through to Emis and Apple. I have never experienced such customer-focussed efficient service - especially for a product with such fab user experience. This will absolutely support our recruitment of clinicians - now during the pandemic, and in the future.
Dr Simon Bowers
GP at Fulwood Green Medical Centre

If you are a GP or manager looking to set up a hot clinic or require any other support, Patchwork Health can replicate this implementation and be live within 48 hours, free of charge.

Please get in touch with Emma Lord, Development Manager at Capacity, for more information: