All posts by Selnet

Workshop: Understanding Artificial Intelligence (Ai) and an Introduction to Chat GPT

Our next workshop is 19th July in Blackburn – with 16 spaces exclusively available for Selnet members.

This Understanding Ai workshop will include an introduction to Chat GPT, by tutor and Chartered Business Advisor Chris Trickett.

Chris is an accomplished user of Ai – so this workshop is a great opportunity to understand and access his experience to explain complex technologies.

The approach of this workshop is contemporary and process-driven, with strategic troubleshooting, and practical tips to enhance sustainability and commercial success, turning them into accessible and useful tools for everyone.

Being a member of Selnet is being part of our fantastic sector, with fees reinvested back into support and training for members. If there are specific training, workshop or networking requests, please email Our work is all about enabling our sector to start up, develop, connect and grow.


Read more and book here



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Recruitment for New Selnet Post: Head of Business Services

Deadline for submissions: Monday 29th July (midday/12pm)

Interviews: Wednesday 31st July

Selnet are renowned across Lancashire for leading Social Enterprise sector development having operated for 18 years and supported a vibrant membership network of likeminded social entrepreneurs. We provide a range of capacity building support services, resources and opportunities to increase our sector’s competitiveness, sustainability and impact.

In addition, we have established an excellent track record in delivering business support services across all sectors. In October 2023, we joined the Boost (5) programme delivering the Flying Start service for new businesses and entrepreneurs. Our team of skilled business advisers work across 10 Lancashire districts supporting aspiring entrepreneurs to start in business and enabling newly established business to further develop, connect and grow.

Selnet’s Board of Directors are now working to strengthen our position within Lancashire’s business support eco-system by recruiting a Head of Business Services. This role will include the management, delivery and sustainability of Selnet’s business support services and social enterprise membership base.

During this time of change in the external environment and increased social pressures it is crucial at Selnet that we maintain and enhance opportunities for our organisation and for the businesses we are here to support.

We are looking for a dynamic individual with a good understanding of business support needs and contract management – motivated by the impact you have on others.

This job role is initially for a fixed term of 12 months.

We are happy to receive applications by email under a variety of employment arrangements:

  • To make a direct employment/self-employment application for this position, you must send your CV and covering letter clearly detailing how your skills and experience meet the criteria outlined on page 3 of the Job Description provided.
  • We would also like to offer a secondment opportunity for a Selnet member or partner organisation who have a member of staff suitable to undertake this role. please send us details of your proposed arrangement and candidate clearly detailing how their skills and experience meet the criteria outlined.
  • If you would like a quick conversation with Liz Tapner MBE at Selnet ahead of making an application please email with your contact details and she will be in touch.

Download a job description here


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Selnet’s Programme Manager listed in Top 100 Women in Social Enterprise 2024

Alison Davies, Programme Manager of Lancashire’s Social Enterprise Network Selnet, has been recognised as one of the UK’s leading women in social enterprise by Pioneers Post.

The NatWest WISE100 (Women in Social Enterprise 100) supports women in social enterprise, impact investing and mission driven business to learn from, inspire, connect and collaborate with each other,  and ultimately increase their social impact.

Selnet is the recognised lead for social enterprise in Lancashire and Alison is managing the delivery of the contracts that Selnet secures for Lancashire social enterprises.


It’s so exciting to be included in the WISE100!
2023 was a tough year for all businesses across the UK, the social enterprise sector included. The impacts our sector can achieve are so inspiring to me. Making sure Lancashire social enterprises can access opportunities is what Selnet are here for, and why I love my job. I’m very grateful for this recognition and it’s another platform for promotion of our sector in Lancashire.


Alison joined Selnet’s Building Better Opportunities team in 2016, working with our diverse partners as Project Lead Officer across the BBO projects. This role meant she could combine her professional  experience of contract management and regeneration with service delivery in a front facing social enterprise.

In January 2023, Alison became Selnet’s Programme Manager – where her role included completing and closing EU-funded programmes, continuing our enhanced Under One Roof service for Lancashire County Council and opening Boost’s Flying Start service and new UKSPF projects.

According to research from Social Enterprise UK, the 131,000-plus social enterprises across the UK are more representative of wider society than other businesses, with 58% being led by teams that are at least half female.

The WISE100 awards celebrate the impacts that female social business leaders have achieved, and recognise the diversity of social enterprise and mission-driven business across the country.

As an infrastructure organisation, Selnet deliver a number of programmes that provide and facilitate mutual support for Lancashire social enterprises and also provide business development support.

Liz Tapner MBE, CEO of Selnet said:


This is fantastic news – huge congratulations Alison! I know how much Alison is driven by social enterprises in business for good. Delivering contracts is a fantastic milestone for our sector. Alison supports our delivery partners to build capacity and experience with leads to securing new opportunities.

 There’s been so much change this last year! And for Selnet it’s been a whirlwind with the long-term European projects and key contracts that we developed and managed coming to an end, while the team have continued the Selnet mission to bring in new opportunities through UKSPF, starting and managing brand new UKSPF projects. Alison absolutely deserves this recognition.


To find out more about Alison, visit or @SelnetLtd across social media.



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Z’s Defence Academy

PO Box 689

Contact: Zaynab Jogi

Tel: 07720 636847






About Us

We are Z’s Defence Academy, a local community-based organisation for women and girls based in Blackburn. We have been running for 6 years and have just secured CIO status. Charity number (1194054).

For 4 years we concentrated solely on self-defence classes, post COVID we have expanded into other forms of fitness and health and well-being. Our moto is “engage, educate, empower”. We work with women to ensure that they equipped to thrive, be empowered, stay safe and enabled to contribute to society.

Our Key Achievements:

  • Blackburn with Darwen Sports Awards – winner of contribution to active sports awards.
  • East Lancs winners at the 2022 British Muslim awards.
  • Volunteer award through UCLAN university Awards
  • Z Defence Academy has 3 nominations at the She Inspires Awards 2023.

Our charity will aim to deliver the following four measure: deliver 60 mins session to physically inactive people from across Blackburn, specifically lower socio-economic groups, will become more active. This will lead to people having a healthier BMI and reducing the risk of lifelong illness. People will increase their confidence, self-esteem, resilience and overall wellbeing. People from across Blackburn will have better aspirations regarding long-term wellbeing, volunteering, connecting local communities, and a sense of belonging in the community.



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The Alternative School Group Ltd

Contact: Tracey Morley

Tel: 01282 851800 / Contact us





About Us

We are an independent school set up to support those pupils who are unable to thrive in mainstream education. All pupils have SEMH needs and are from some of the most disadvantaged families in the county. We offer personalised education to include outdoor education, access to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme and residential retreats.



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Selnet are excited to introduce our Flying Start Delivery Team

The Flying Start service provides valuable support and resources to help businesses navigate the challenges of their formative years.

The service is aimed at ambitious future business leaders, with a focus on building business acumen and to acquire and apply the core skills required to establish the business and drive sustainable business growth. If you’re looking to turn a brilliant business idea into reality or take your new business to the next level, Boost’s Flying Start service can help you achieve your personal and business goals.

In partnership with Boost, Selnet are leading the Flying Start service and bring together a team of experienced advisers:


Kerry Stevens  |  Business Advisor |  Beanstalk Business Centre CIC

Kerry’s role involves providing pre-start-up support to entrepreneurs starting a business, and business support to owners of young businesses, under three years old, with aspirations of growth.

Her specialisms include business administration, bookkeeping, community/social enterprises, and food and hospitality.

“Our niche lies in supporting the softer skills crucial for starting a business. This includes overcoming imposter syndrome, building confidence, business communication skills, and effective networking.”


Chris Trickett  |  Business Advisor  |  Community CVS

Chris’s role involves assisting organisations to improve and enhance their sustainability through professional business advice, best practice management, leadership consultation and training.

His specialisms include business processes, logistics, media, marketing, tech, leadership and management.


Lynn Trickett  |  Business Advisor  |  Community CVS

Lynn’s role involves extensive experience of delivering professional business advice and training, specialising in business set-up, growth, social enterprise, business law, and all areas across the logistics of set up and growth.

Her specialisms are all rooted in leading each client to a reality of business sustainability.

  • There are examples of the business advice and guidance from Lynn through the ‘I Use Boost’ posts shared by Selnet, with new posts being shared weekly.
  • On 29th May in Blackburn with Darwen, Lynn delivered the Understanding Social Media Masterclass in Blackburn.


Daniel Fenton  |  Business Advisor  |  Practical Performance Coaching

Daniel’s role involves 1:1 coaching and masterclasses, with specialisms in branding, digital marketing, client engagement, pricing, sales, social media, business development, pitching and book-keeping.

His specialisms are rooted in changing lives of entrepreneurs by coaching and upskilling start-ups, and creating lasting & sustainable value & change.

  • On 20th June from 14:00 – 16:30 Daniel’s next workshop on Financial Management for SMEs is the second webinar in a series of 3 for start-up businesses.
  • On 25th July from 17:30 – 20:00 will be S.M.A.R.T marketing for new business, again as a webinar, and the third workshop in a series of 3 for start-up businesses.
  • Daniel has already led masterclasses in Burnley including Business Start-Up Essentials, Financial Management and Funding for Start-Ups and SMEs and delivered an online workshop on knowing your customers and how to increase sales through tailoring your pitch. 
  • The ‘Meet the Boost Team Q&A’ from Daniel was posted by Boost in April 2024, and case studies of Daniel’s clients will be shared soon.


Tony Carr  |  Business Advisor  |  Social Enterprise Solutions

Tony’s role includes 1:1 coaching to enable business start-up and growth, including for social enterprises. His specialism is enabling creative thinking to inspire and enable entrepreneurs.

  • Tony’s advice “’Are You Being Served’…. Correctly?”is about how customer service is a key ingredient in business, and how it is important to get the basics right!
  • Tony organised the recent Starting a New Business workshop in Fylde in partnership with Fylde Council. More workshops are being lined up alongside ongoing one-to-one business advice.


Lateef Badat  |  Business Advisor  |  Shout Network

Lateef’s role includes 1:1 business advice, mentoring, coaching, peer 2 peer support and masterclasses, specialising in digital, creative, media and professional services.

His ethos is focussed on enabling business growth through entrepreneurs’ empowerment, motivation and inspiration.

  • As a ‘mindset magician’ Lateef helps business owners and teams to work smarter and perform better through empowerment, motivation and inspiration – and his ‘Meet the Boost Team’ article will be published soon!
  • Most recently, Lateef led training events for Flying Start in May 2024, with a Business Start-up Essentials workshop in South Ribble, and How To Build Your Personal Brand, Generate Leads And Get New Clients On LinkedIn as a masterclass in Preston.


Jane Binnion  |  Business Advisor  |  The Growing Club

As a business advisor, Jane’s role is focussed on delivering Flying Start business support to female entrepreneurs across Lancashire.

“I love it when women realise how many entrepreneurial skills they already possess and that starting a business is not such a huge leap after all.”

  • 6-month course fully booked! On 26th March, Jane began The Growing Club’s 6-month start-up course for women in Lancashire who are ready to start a small business. The purpose of this course is to take women through a systematic programme of starting a solid, sustainable business; equip participants with the skills to run a sustainable small business, ensure systems are in place to make things run as smoothly as possible from day one and provide peer support to break the isolation, build confidence and provide accountability.
  • Read more on the Boost website. We will be sharing client feedback and highlights of this course soon.


Alistair Clarke MBE  |  Business Advisor  |  Tick the Publicity Box

Alistair supports people thinking of starting a company as someone to talk to, ask a million questions of and to inspire their confidence to get out there and make it work.

As an accredited, specialist social enterprise business advisor, Alistair has a wide range of experience from advising private businesses to grow, take on more staff and diversify their products and services, and supporting hundreds of  social businesses that want to do good in the community.

“The first 20 years of my career were in broadcast radio so I enjoy advising creative companies and bring lots of skills to clients about marketing, communications and effective use of social media. I’m here to take the worry and stress off clients who want to start a business but don’t know where to start.”

  • On 13th June from 14:00 – 16:00 at Preston Town Hall, Alistair will deliver a Flying Start Marketing Masterclass to fine tune your company’s marketing and make it sing AIDA! That’s Awareness, Interest, Desire and Action to give your printed materials, social media and presentations the best chance of turning enquiries into sales. A two-hour session with industry tips, hints and ideas to kickstart your firm’s public image.
  • In March 2024, Alistair’s Inspiration and Spotlight article on Harnessing the innovation in social entrepreneurship in Lancashire was published on the Boost website.
  • Alistair’s ongoing business advice and support is helping entrepreneurs across a wide range of businesses, and we are sharing these on social media.



Selnet’s management team

The Flying Start service is led by Selnet, and our team includes:

Nina Cowell  |  Account Manager  |  Selnet Ltd

Nina is an excellent ‘networker’ and loves talking to people and finding solutions to help them move forward. Now as an Account Manager on the BOOST Flying Start Programme, she is helping entrepreneurs and businesses get the support to meet their needs.

She recognises the importance for businesses in Lancashire to get the help and support they need and is currently working towards Level 5 CMI Diploma in Professional Consulting.

Her skills include introducing project clients to new links and opportunities that can have a positive impact on their business, their enterprises and their own inspiration. 


Yvette Holden  |  Account Manager  |  Selnet Ltd

Yvette has been the front face for Selnet members for three years and excels at helping business leaders to market and promote their business. Now as an Account Manager on the BOOST Flying Start Programme, she is helping Entrepreneurs and Businesses get the support to set up and grow their businesses.

Yvette enjoys speaking to people and hearing about their business ideas, ambitions and plans and is now working towards Level 5 CMI Diploma in Professional Consulting.

“It’s really satisfying to support entrepreneurs progress to turn their ambitions into realities”.


Dawn Welham  |  Marketing and Promotion Manager  |  Selnet Ltd

Dawn is the marketing and promotion manager for Flying Start. With a background as a business advisor, she also has experience in coordinating cross-sector collaborations, bid writing, reporting, marketing and publicity.

“The scale and diversity of the support available through Flying Start is the most fantastic opportunity to empower entrepreneurs, businesses and enterprises.”


Alison Davies  |  Programme Manager  |  Selnet Ltd

Alison is managing the delivery of the Flying Start project, utilising her experience to achieve the project aims and have a positive impact on Lancashire businesses and the economy – all by enabling a partnership approach for entrepreneurs to realise their true potential.


Liz Tapner MBE  | Programme Accountability  |  Selnet Ltd

Liz is a chartered business adviser and business mentor with extensive experience of business support programmes and the driving force behind Selnet. She is responsible for developing Selnet into a major infrastructure organisation and securing over £25m investment into Lancashire enterprises. 

Her passion is supporting people to achieve their best and in the main her experience has been gained creating new enterprises and enabling growth. Liz loves to see viable and sustainable businesses operating for social good.


Want to know more?

If you’re starting, growing or scaling a business and want to find out how our funded services can help you, please contact our experienced team today. We’d love to support your growth ambitions.

Visit Selnet’s Flying Start page for more information, call 01772 200690 or email or

As part of the Boost partnership, there is a range of services being delivered through partners including the Growth Company, Growth Lancashire and Selnet. Find out more here.




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Creative Football CIC

Contact: Paul Hardman

Tel: 01254 661501






About Us

From carefully crafted football sessions that people can just show up to, to expertly facilitated sessions for people in mental health services, to providing expert advice and guidance to teams and organisations, Creative Football changes people’s lives. We are proud to work in partnership with Together an Active Future (TaAF), Sport England and Lancashire & South Cumbria NHS.

From our home at the Witton Park 3G Facility in Blackburn, Lancashire, we use football in a positive way to engage people informally, anchoring the beautiful game at the heart of relationships to understand and help with wider needs. Everything we do is tailored to suit all types of individuals and services based on personal needs and ability.

Regardless of the reason someone needs us, we create an environment that is safe, fun, therapeutic and where everyone shares an ethos of respect, empathy and support. This approach creates a diverse network of support and friendships that many people haven’t experienced before.

In addition to its Football sessions, Creative Football offer a range of other activities including Cycling, Walking and Table Tennis. Away from physical activities, it also provides holistic 1:1 support around mental wellbeing, finances, housing, employment and education.



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Team Selnet’s visit to Let’s Grow Preston

“We all work on separate projects, and it was great to step away from our desks for a couple of hours to spend some team time together!” – Yvette Holden

On 28th November, seven members of Team Selnet attended Let’s Grow Preston’s Grange Community Gardens – making apple juice from the community garden’s orchard, then creating woodfired pizzas for lunch.

“We all had such a brilliant time – all in a production line to press apples from the Grange’s own orchard into juice that we could take home! Our woodfired pizzas were all fantastic.”

As an ‘infrastructure organisation’, Selnet are here to secure new opportunities, bring together partnerships, manage contracts and provide business development services for our sector to start up, develop, connect and grow.

For Selnet, 2023 has brought huge changes from closing long term projects (DR!VE, and Building Better Opportunities projects of Age of Opportunity, Invest in Youth and Changing Futures), to opening brand new projects (5 new UKSPF projects including Flying Start), to keeping services running (Under One Roof and network membership provision).

We’re on track for major new milestones, and all to bring you with us…




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Preston Move Forward

Move Forward in Preston: Your Path to Success!

If you live in Preston, are not currently working and are looking for personal development opportunities or need some support to overcome barriers, we can help you Move Forward.

We will share case studies on the support provided and impacts that have been made throughout the delivery of this project.

Read about the individual impacts achieved through Preston’s Move Forward project here.


Who we can help

Move Forward is our new service supporting Preston residents who are out of work, and held back by multiple barriers to employment – including:

  • No or low skills / work experience
  • Poor physical or mental health
  • Caring responsibilities
  • Lack of motivation, aspiration and trust
  • Experience of criminality
  • Drug and/or alcohol abuse
  • Experience of domestic violence
  • Poor experience within the care system
  • Benefit dependency
  • Homelessness
  • Financial difficulties
  • Social isolation or loneliness

To be eligible for support, individuals must be:

  • Aged 25 and above
  • Economically Inactive (those not in work and not actively seeking work, unlike unemployed individuals who are actively seeking work).
  • Living in Preston (within boundaries of Preston City Council)
  • A legal resident in the UK and able to take paid employment in the UK.


We know it can be difficult to return to work and are here to help you to Move Forward.

This support is free of charge. We hope to offer this support in additional areas soon, so please watch this space.


How we can help

Move Forward in Preston is delivered by a team of project partners who are here to assist you in finding your path to work, from enhancing your skills, to helping you break down any obstacles that are holding you back.

We can provide access to free opportunities, such as volunteering and work placements to grow your experience. You can also access free training through Move Forward, including maths, ESOL and digital skills courses.

Our network can also help you grow personally and professionally, providing personalised help and guidance.


Our overall aims

  • Supporting you on your journey – from personal growth and development, to securing a new job.
  • Building strong connections with people and organisations around Lancashire.
  • Collaborating with existing services and creating new ways to support you.

If you are ready to make positive changes in your job search journey, Move Forward is here to support you every step of the way.


Get in touch today

For accessing support in Preston please email or call 01772 200690 and ask about the “Move Forward project in Preston”.

Alternatively, project partners can be contacted directly for specific support:


Move Forward Preston’s project delivery partners


Beanstalk is a social enterprise providing Employment and Skills support. Their mentoring and training enables individuals to access employment and training opportunities in an inclusive and empowering environment. Additionally, their Food and Cookery provision delivers valuable job skills and personal growth through cooking and food skills training in communities and educational settings. Beanstalk’s initiatives are driven by community needs and cater to diverse learning preferences.

For support from Beanstalk through Preston’s Move Forward project, call 0300 3655530  or contact Kerry Stevens on  


Lancashire Community Finance       

Lancashire Community Finance is a not-for-profit community organisation working in Preston since 2005. They aim to help disadvantaged and vulnerable people achieve economic, financial and social inclusion, through their person-centred approach to support they provide. We equip our service users with the tools needed to manage independently in the long-term, to be resilient in the face of unexpected events and to appreciate the benefit of accessing support at an early stage should things go wrong in the future.

The people LCF help are residents in the most disadvantaged communities (82% live in the third most deprived areas in England), service users who live with a disability (42% of working-age service users identify as disabled), are either not in work (69% of service users) or employed in low-paid, insecure, precarious jobs.

For support from LCF through Preston’s Move Forward project, contact Adam Wadie on


PHX training  

PHX was founded in 2004 and is a leading training provider in Northwest England. Certified by Matrix, Pearson, NCFE, BIIAB, and Edexcel, they run government funded training schemes including the Adults Skills Budget. A variety of vocational programmes are available from Hospitality to IT, Health and Social Care to Business Admin, each tailored to local industry needs. They also excel in improving functional skills in maths and English, from beginners to level 2, equipping individuals with essential tools for life and work.

PHX Training’s core values of Performance, Honesty, and Excellence drive their commitment to supporting growth, creating jobs, and bridging the skills gap. Their vision focuses on growth, inclusivity, and success, aiming to help individuals in Cumbria and Lancashire build a bright future. As more than just a training provider, they stand as companions on the journey to success, offering opportunities to unlock potential. With government support and guided by their values, PHX Training is dedicated to supporting individuals in reaching their successful future.

For support from PHX Training through Preston’s Move Forward project, call 01772 440969 or contact Amanda Sumner on



Move Forward delivery partners working with Selnet will support eligible residents who are furthest from the labour market, helping them overcome their personal barriers to economic activity. The project will combine and continue some of the valuable and impactful successes that local delivery partners have achieved over the last six years through ESIF projects, the model being an intensive Key worker support project.



Individual Impact


Who are we?

Move Forward is a collaboration between Active Lancashire and Selnet, along with local authorities and other organisations across Lancashire. We have teamed up to make sure you have the support you need to succeed on your journey to finding work.

This project is funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF). Active Lancashire and Selnet are joining forces with colleges, housing groups, and other partners to make sure you have all the resources you need to move forward in life.




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