Category Archives: News

Senior Project Lead Officer – Job Advert

Selnet (Social Enterprise Lancashire Network) is looking to recruit a Senior Project Lead Officer to work within our Building Better Opportunities (BBO) projects. The BBO projects for Lancashire aim to support those most at risk of exclusion from the labour market and identify, reduce and/or remove barriers to engagement and employment for participants. Selnet is the lead partner for three BBO projects.

This role will work across the three BBO projects, performance managing the work of our delivery partners and ensuring that the project stays on target. Each project has a different aim and we have around 30 delivery partners working with us. The post holder will work with all members of the BBO team and work closely with the Partnership Manager to ensure quality and effective delivery of the project.

As Senior Project Lead Officer, you will provide a resource for partner queries and foster relationships between project partners. You will manage your own caseload of partners and report to the Partnership Manager with both statistical and qualitative information relating to a partner’s delivery progress. Highlighting performance, good practice and measures to be implemented to avoid risk to projects.

The successful candidate will play a key role within management exercises including service procurement. This may include writing tender specifications, working with our procurement partner Blackpool Council to issue tender documents, answering queries from potential bidders, facilitating tender scoring panels, issuing contract awards letters.

This will be a fixed term post to end June 2023 subject to continued funding and no significant drop in the number of project delivery partners. The successful candidate will be subject to a six-month probationary period.

The Application Form can be downloaded here or requested by emailing or calling 01772 200690. The application form should be returned for the attention of Donna Marshall at Selnet Ltd, Brentwood House, 15 Victoria Road, Fulwood, Preston PR2 8PS or via email to Please note that CVs will not be accepted.

Post-recruitment timeframe and application details are:

  • The post is full-time – 37 hours per week
  • Salary£31,500 p/a
  • 25 days annual leave per year plus bank holidays
  • Company pension scheme
  • Flexible working with some office based work in Preston and some remote working
  • Application deadline 1pm on Tuesday 17th August 2021
  • Interviews will be held on Friday 20th August 2021
  • The post will commence on the successful candidate’s earliest available date



SELNET Application for Employment 2021

Senior Project Lead Officer – Job Description July 2021

Senior Project Lead Officer – Job Specification July 2021


Selnet is a Social Enterprise, Company limited by guarantee with no share capital. Company number 05671228.


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Selnet in UK’s Top 100 Social Enterprises – for 3rd year!

The annual NatWest SE100 Social Business Awards recognise the most outstanding achievers in UK social enterprise, with top awards in six categories this year.

The NatWest SE100 celebrates the success of socially-driven ventures across the UK – by naming the most impressive 100 social enterprises of the year in a top 100 Index, and giving six SE100 Social Business Awards for the most outstanding achievers. It was created by Pioneers Post in partnership with NatWest more than 10 years ago and aims to support social enterprises not only through recognising their achievements but also by sharing their stories and expertise through articles, films and networking opportunities.

NatWest Social & Community Capital’s Megan Virrels said: “It’s always one of my highlights reviewing the SE100 entries and seeing how many examples of resilience, courage and perseverance there are in our sector. The winners have all shown incredible dedication and commitment to delivering a positive future for some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged among us. I hope you all feel rightly proud in the difference that you are making to communities across the UK and beyond.”


Selnet recognised for 3rd consecutive year

Selnet exists to enable, develop and support the vital work across Lancashire’s frontline social enterprises. Since 2007 we have been supporting social enterprises across Lancashire, Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen to connect, develop and grow, through:

  • Our vibrant, impactful membership network
  • Specialist business start-up and growth advice and support
  • Securing opportunities for our members
  • Developing and leading partnerships
  • Promotion and representation on a local, regional and national basis.

Our impacts continue to increase from our support and training for members during Covid to our contract extensions – and our work towards securing opportunities for our social enterprises and their communities. We have now secured over £23.8M for our sector; securing opportunities, enabling partnerships, managing contracts and accessing funded business development services.



We are thrilled and honoured to be recognised as one of the top 100 Social Enterprises in the UK for the 3rd year running!

It’s a testament to the dedicated and passionate team at Selnet, working hard on behalf of our members and for Lancashire residents.’

Donna Marshall, Partnership Manager



The Sewing Rooms Leaders shortlisted for Leaders of the Year

Huge congratulations for Paula Gamester & Maureen Fazal who were shortlisted for Leader of the Year as Co-founders of The Sewing Rooms / Connector Media: “for social enterprise bosses demonstrating excellent leadership, effectiveness and inspiration in taking the team on a mission-driven journey to success”


Want to know more about Selnet? 

During Covid we have invested in a Membership Lead Officer to engage and support our sector. To find out more about becoming a Selnet member contact Yvette Holden

Read the full Pioneers Post article here




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Employability Skills Provision for Building Better Opportunities – Age of Opportunity Project (East Lancashire) Phase 3

Intro: Applications are invited from suitably qualified and experienced organisations to provide employability skills support to Age of Opportunity participants from specified Boroughs within Lancashire (Blackburn, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale).  Proposals are sought from organisations that can demonstrate competence in delivering relevant support to people aged over 50 with multiple and complex barriers into employment, training or education. The delivery partner will be expected to carry out a diagnostic assessment with potential participants to determine eligibility, suitability and need.  This will be followed by a comprehensive action plan to agree a course of action for the eligible participant, which will improve their lives and ultimately take them closer to work or learning.  The delivery partner will be the key contact and support provider for the participant and will also introduce the participant to a variety of specialist services should they be needed, some of which will be other BBO funded services.

If you are interested in the opportunity or have any questions please follow the instructions with the portal above  

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DR!VE Business Support Consultants – Invite to Tender

As part of the new Business Support project DR!VE secured by Selnet and partners. Connector Media t/a The Sewing Rooms (West Lancashire) invite you to look at this opportunity:



To secure the DR!VE Project Connector Media t/a Sewing Rooms (Sewing Rooms) have joined forces with Selnet Ltd, the Social Enterprise Network for Lancashire. Selnet are nationally recognised as one of the UK’s top 100 Social Enterprises and the lead body representing social enterprise in the Lancashire sub-region. Selnet provide a range of business support services delivered through partners that build capacity, provide resources and opportunities to help increase competitiveness, sustainability and impact of the business supported. Selnet have many years’ experience in contract management and are the lead partner in the delivery of the DR!VE project.

The Sewing Rooms is a project of Connector Media Community Interest Company (CIC). Registered company no. 06362350. The Sewing Rooms social enterprise is a business that trades to tackle social problems. Their goal is to improve the health and wellbeing of the communities we work with, as well as improve peoples’ life chances and do business by putting people and the planet first. Reinvesting the money that our business makes into the communities around us.

“DR!VE” is a new, bespoke, stand-alone programme for Lancashire enterprises and entrepreneurs that fills a gap in both business start-up and growth support provision across Lancashire. Throughout our delivery of the DR!VE project we aim to provide an enjoyable service which guides our clients through planned support to create business, increase competitiveness, profitability, employee engagement and ensure client satisfaction.


The Opportunity:

The Sewing Rooms are a small team that gives clients flexibility and high levels of personal responsibility, expertise supported by a strong network of industry partners. They are looking to commission experienced and qualified Business Advisers to support their delivery of the DR!VE project  

The opportunity is now live/launched on the Chest:

If you are interested in the opportunity or have any questions please follow the instructions within one of the portals above  


Deadline for receipt of Tender – Friday 6th August 2021 – 10am


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Partnership Opportunity: Provision of Financial Capability Support for Building Better Opportunities Projects in Lancashire (2021-2022)

Applications are invited from suitably qualified and experienced organisation/s to provide specialist support to improve a participant’s financial capabilities from each of the three projects. Projects; Age of Opportunity, Invest in Youth and Changing Futures work across the whole of Lancashire. Our projects have been in operation for approximately 4 years during this time it has become evident that a significant proportion of BBO participants are experiencing exclusion from the labour market due to financial limitations. These relate to the participants personal financial situation or insecure home, and as such these circumstances act as a barrier to progression for the individual.

Proposals are sought from organisation/s that can support this important function helping participants remove barriers which present a major obstacle to them. Financial barriers often relate to the balance between benefits and employment income, poor financial management and debt, and in many cases need access to affordable care provision for dependants. Participants would access this specialist support via a referral from one of the current delivery partners within the relevant BBO project either at the start of their journey if financial circumstances are a limiting factor to full participation, or alongside other support activities whilst they are on project. 

If you are interested in the opportunity or have any questions please follow the instructions with the portal above  

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Lancashire’s leading light awarded MBE

Liz Tapner, CEO of Selnet, awarded MBE for services to social enterprise

The social impact of Liz Tapner’s work has been huge. She has led Selnet, the Social Enterprise Network for Lancashire, to secure over £23M investment through a variety of projects and contracts; all to enable social enterprises to achieve real change for disadvantaged people and deprived communities across Lancashire.

Working with a wide range of social enterprises, Liz’s work helps enable business solutions to tackle social problems; from training and skills development organisations to community cafes, and health and social care to performing arts.

Over 15 years, Liz has been responsible for developing Selnet into the major infrastructure organisation it is today. All this is rooted in enabling and directly engaging the sector, working closely with 12 sector representatives as Selnet’s Board of Directors and leading a passionate, active staff team.

Liz is nationally recognised as a sector leader for her hard work, inspiration and impacts. She has sustained Selnet across highly challenging times; she has secured significant opportunities for the sector and formal awards for her work.

Now, Liz has been awarded an MBE for Services to Social Enterprise, based on her phenomenal achievements.


I have had over 15 amazing years working with some phenomenal social entrepreneurs. I love my work, helping others has helped me personally through some difficult times, and supports my own mental health.

Being recognised in this way, I feel humbled – it’s an unexpected honour. I went from being a service user with serious challenges, to becoming a CEO – and now I’m honoured at being awarded an MBE!

I built my skills, confidence, and a career I am so dedicated to – it’s all about bringing real opportunities and assistance to this amazing sector. The purpose is always to enable and support services that have real impacts on addressing social inequalities. – Liz Tapner MBE


Selnet represents the interests of Lancashire’s social businesses at regional and national level. Bringing resources into Lancashire, this enables businesses to grow, local communities to prosper, and individuals to benefit from services and engage within their local area.

The Queens’ awards mark the achievements and services of extraordinary people across the UK. Securing a wide range of support services and supporting multiple partnerships over 15 years, Liz has secured over £23.8M for the growth and development of the social enterprise sector across Lancashire.

Graham Jones, Chair of Selnet Board said:


This award is highly deserved, Liz Tapner’s work has encouraged social enterprises to grow and enhance the business activities that create jobs and benefit our communities.

Liz has ensured access to new opportunities; providing in-depth knowledge and practical support to strengthen and grow the social enterprise sector.

Graham Jones


To find out more about Liz Tapner MBE and Selnet, visit or @SelnetLtd across social media.


Are you a social enterprise? Join Selnet!

If you are trading for a social or environmental purpose, we can support you to start-up, develop, connect and grow. Being part of Lancashire’s wider social enterprise community enables your access to additional services and resources, up-to-date sector news, funding information, networking events, training opportunities and a platform to promote your business.

For more information speak to our Membership Lead Officer Yvette Holden on or 01772 200 690 or visit




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Opportunity for Selnet members and other Social Enterprises on the Fylde Coast

Selnet have recently made a connection with Robertson Construction North West. They are volunteering staff time to provide expert business advice to VCSEs and SMEs local to their current projects including the Blackpool Holiday Inn at Talbot Gateway and The Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Preston. The advice will be ranging from construction advice to business level advice including but not limited to health & safety, bid writing, legal, HR.

If you would like us to refer you for advice around any of the above topics or wish to discuss anything further, please contact Yvette on 07958 432165 or email


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Welcome to DR!VE

DR!VE is an ambitious plan to support more than 200 new-start and existing businesses to grow in Lancashire over the next two years.

The Social Enterprise Lancashire Network, Selnet, is heading the partnership of qualified business advisors that can turn good business plans into business for good.

We’re here to help get business moving in Lancashire.

How can we help?

A friendly and approachable advisor will spend up to two days supporting you and your team to increase the chances of your business thriving and surviving.

That could include explaining the basics of business if you’ve decided to work for yourself for the first time, perhaps linking you with potential partners or helping with market research so that an existing business can grow or advise on moving premises and taking on more staff.  Alternatively, you may need to consider changes to your products and services in the post-Covid world.

In addition, Selnet will be arranging a series of masterclasses with expert speakers to guide participants through common business hurdles such as finance, administration and marketing/social media.

The support is bespoke to your organisation and at no cost to you as it is funded by the European Regional Development Fund with support from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

For more information, call Nina Cowell at Selnet on 01772 200690 or email


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Peer Networks


Whether it is business disruption, staffing issues, a change in customer needs or a host of other issues affecting your social enterprise, Selnet understands that you are facing some of the biggest business challenges.

In some cases, it’s a challenge just to make ends meet. We’re here to help.

Selnet was excited to be rolling out a national networking programme for social enterprise leaders in Lancashire that want to maintain and develop their organisation for future success.


Start Planning For The Future

Starting in early 2021, this intensive programme will took 18 hours over 8 weeks (government funded so no cost to the businesses). Together social enterprise leaders in Lancashire learnt from each other’s shared experiences as a Peer Network.

Each group consisted of 8-to-10 business leaders led by an experienced facilitator. In addition, there was bespoke business support for organisations and a series of masterclasses to learn new skills.

The Programme supported participants to:

  • Overcome business challenges and act on new opportunities
  • Build a trusted network of connections for support now and in the future
  • Improve long-term personal and business performance
  • Consider ways to increase turnover and social impact
  • Use the Peer Network to help overcome challenges or make changes in your social enterprise

Not placed in a group with any direct competitors, participants could openly share their expertise and benefit from others, without fear of compromising their competitive advantages.

This was not formal management or skills training it provided personal development focus with flexible topics worked though with the help of a professional facilitator and in small groups of likeminded social enterprise leaders in a similar situation.



Group 1
Wednesday mornings starting Wednesday 10th February then 24th Feb and 3rd 17th and 24th March (Additional project activity will be planned around your schedule)

Group 2
Friday afternoons starting Friday 12th February then 26th Feb and 5th 19th and 26th March (Additional project activity will be planned around your schedule)

Who Is It For?
This support is for anyone working in the social enterprise sector in Lancashire. Leaders now – and leaders of the future.

The agenda is set by the group. The context is supporting each other to develop new ways of working and building knowledge and skills to expand your organisation’s impact.


Why Take Part?

Participating in a peer group can help participants gain fresh perspectives, inspire new ideas and change habits of thinking. It helped form new contacts, built networks and gained valuable professional and personal support from a team of like-minded peers. The group was a place to try out new ideas before they were fully formed, and to share difficulties as well as celebrate successes.


Participate in Peer Networks

Participating social enterprises should have a trading address within the Lancashire LEP area and have:

*SMEs that do not meet this criteria due to Covid-19, but did meet the criteria during the 12 months prior to March 2020 are also eligible


If you have any questions about this programme email Yvette Holden on



The programme was jointly funded by BEIS and Lancashire County Council



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Kickstart Gateway

Selnet have been approved as a Gateway provider for the Government’s Kickstart Scheme, providing funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit.

About the Kickstart Scheme
The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to create new job placements for 16 to 24 year olds on Universal Credit who are at risk of long term unemployment. Employers of all sizes can apply for funding which covers:

Employers can spread the start date of the job placements up until the end of December 2021.

Selnet as a Gateway Provider
Selnet recognise that social enterprises across Lancashire are in a unique position to offer excellent opportunities to young people however this is unlikely to be at scale. In becoming a Gateway provider, Selnet aim to make it easy for our members to get involved, whether you can provide just one placement or several.

What employers will receive
In addition to the wages cost, the Government are providing further on-boarding costs of £1,500 per job placement. This is to support the young person with training and to help them become ‘job ready’, as well as helping with any set-up costs. Selnet will be on-hand to advise employers how to make best use of this funding to ensure a positive outcome for all. 

Start date
Working with 11 Selnet members, we have our first 50 placements approved and are hoping to have the young people in post early in the New Year.

We are now able to vary our agreement with DWP and extend this offer to other businesses that can support a young person.



If you have a placement to offer and would like to work with us, fill out this quick Expression of Interest (EoI). We need just a few details about your business and the type of roles you’re planning to offer.

Please complete and return your Expression of Interest to Yvette ( who will be happy to help.


Further Information

Job Placement Criteria
The job placements created must be new jobs. The placements must not:

  • Replace existing or planned vacancies
  • Cause existing employees, apprentices or contractors to lose work or reduce their working hours

The job placements must:

  • Be a minimum of 25 hours per week, for 6 months
  • Pay at least the national minimum wage or the national living wage for the employee’s age group
  • Only require basic training

What is a Gateway

Gateway Representatives have been selected by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) as credible organisations with experience in managing partnerships agreements and have a robust financial and governance process to manage Kickstart placement procedures.

The DWP has checked and approved Selnet as a Kickstart Gateway using the Cabinet Office Spotlight Tool.

If you’re creating fewer than 30 job placements, as a Kickstart gateway Selnet can apply for a Kickstart Scheme grant for you.

This does not guarantee that you will get Kickstart Scheme funding. Your application will be assessed against the Kickstart Scheme criteria by DWP.




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