Funding Available for 21-22 TRANSFORM Development Programme

Funding Available for 21-22 TRANSFORM Development Programme


The ‘TRANSFORM’ Social Enterprise Development Programme offering the award of an Advanced Diploma in Social Enterprise

Overall Objective:

To develop individuals and organisation with the capabilities to commence, sustain or grow social enterprises / social businesses.

£2000 Bursaries announced: Apply now

We are delighted to announce that Bursaries up to the value of £2,000 are being provided by The Flax Trust to support the launch of the 2021/22 TRANSFORM Social Enterprise Development Programme leading to the award of the Advanced Diploma in Social Enterprise. The Advanced Diploma is fully accredited by Ulster University and has been the sole academic programme in the social enterprise sector since 2005.

Applications are welcomed from those directly involved in social or community enterprise activities or from those involved in providing support for social enterprise development. We will also consider individuals who are self-employed or unemployed, who wish to pursue social enterprise activities.

Now in its third year, the TRANSFORM programme is aimed at individuals in existing community organisations, social enterprises and charities who are trying to diversify their income streams and those who have an idea for starting or growing a social enterprise. It has undergone extensive remodelling to reflect the changing needs and emerging trends within the social economy sector as well as recognising the key drivers for social enterprise development.

The total programme fee is £2250 and will include:

  • Modules are delivered over 12 months in line with Covid Restrictions 7

(sample content click here)

  • Study Visits and Social Enterprise Masterclasses
  • Guest Lectures from Business Leaders and Social Innovators

If you have any queries about the content of the programme, contact Steve Pollard at Ulster University Business School or Bill Manson  at SSEI operations partner, Podiem.

You only need to complete one application form to apply for both a bursary and for the programme itself.

There are two ways to apply for the bursary.

  1. Online: Click here to apply online and follow the instructions provided
  2. Offline: Click here to download an application form which can then be manually filled in and emailed to

Closing date for applications is: Wednesday 4th November 2021 with interviews scheduled prior to 2nd December 2021.


Programme managed by: Podiem Ltd – official partner of SSEIBursaries provided by Flax Trust are awarded through SSEI



Brian Tannerhill MBE Inspires Social Entrepreneurs in Ballymena

Brian Tannerhill MBE Inspires Social Entrepreneurs in Ballymena


Dream, Engage Trusted Friends and Have a Plan…… Brian Tannerhill MBE Inspires Social Entrepreneurs in Ballymena

Almost 50 local social entrpreneurs were at The Braid, Ballymena on Friday 24th November to hear from Brian Tannerhill MBE, one of the most successful social entrepreneurs in the UK. The event, which explored the concept and potential of ‘community-owned business’, was created by the School for Social Enterprises in Ireland (SSEI) and hosted by Mid & East Antrim Borough Council.

Mr Tannerhill, who founded McSence, an award-winning community-owned business which created employment and regeneration in Mayfield near Edinburgh, shared how he and his team were able to grow the McSence group to 6 working social enterprises with a total turnover of £1million and profits in excess of £200,000. By the time of his retirement the group had been named UK Social Enterprise of the Year, held assets of £10 million, employed some 300 people and returned countless millions to the community in the form of wages.

Within his address, Brian outlined a step-by-step guide to starting a modern growing social enterprise. His suggested process included Dreaming, Engaging Trusted Associates to form a Steering Group, create a Community Plan and the pursuit of added-value diversification.

Also speaking at the event was Ballymena’s own Billy Millar, Treasurer of Slemish n tha Braid Credit Union, who has played a pivotal role in its continued growth and success. The achievements of the Credit Union were formally recognised recently when it won ‘Social Enterprise of the Year’ at the Ballymena Chamber of Commerce Awards. Within his presentation, Billy shared the story of how the ongoing renovation of the Raglan Building is aiming to mirror the McSence model and have a similarly positive and regenerative impact on the local community.

The event was opened by Deputy Mayor Cllr Cheryl Johnson who explained “Social Enterprise plays a vital role in our society and in Mid and East Antrim in particular. One of Council’s priorities is building stronger, safe and healthy communities. We believe that work carried out by groups such as Raglan’s will really help to encourage and reinforce these efforts.”

The masterclass hosted as part of the event by Professor Ken O’Neill from the SSEI and supported by The Flax Trust, the Raglan Community Development Renovation Society and the Ulster University, received outstanding feedback. Support created by the SSSEI attracted a full house at The Braid Studio in Ballymena.


Apply now for 2018 £1000 Diploma Bursary

Apply now for 2018 £1000 Diploma Bursary


Are you interested in social innovation? Could a social enterprise development programme be for you?

The Flax Trust has announced that it will offer a number of £1000 bursaries for its 2018 social enterprise business planning programme leading to the award of the Advanced Diploma in Social Enterprise – Ireland’s leading qualification in social enterprise development.

The programme includes

  • Six 2-day Modules over a 12 month period
  • Six ½ Day Peer Learning Groups
  • Study Visits & Social Enterprise Masterclasses
  • Guest Lectures from Business Leaders and Social Innovators
  • Full accreditation by the Ulster Business School, Ulster University, Jordanstown

For more information and to download an application form click here.

Closing date for applications is Wednesday 29th November 2017.

Christine Edgar Wins Podiem Prize

Christine Edgar Wins Podiem Prize


At a recent Pre-Graduation Reception, Podiem Director Bill Manson was delighted to present Christine Edgar with the Podiem Prize for outstanding performance throughout the 2016 Advance Diploma in Social Enterprise “Christine has travelled along a demanding learning journey from very cautious beginnings to become very aware of her strengths and abilities. This awareness is very evident in a grounded self-confidence in her ability to build strong relationships.” he went on to add “her approach to and attitude throughout the Advanced Diploma was exemplary and with her new knowledge and skills she will make a real impact in social enterprise” Christine responded by saying

“A great deal of my inspiration, understanding and learning came from my peers. I have gained connections and friends that will be with me for a very long time. It was beneficial to see how others think and approach community work and fantastic to hear their innovations and ideas for the future. I wish to commend all who were involved in the teaching and delivering of this programme as well as The Flax Trust for the very essential support to make it possible for me to participate”

Christine is pictured  beside Sr Mary Turley from the Flax Trust above.