Building capacity through partnerships

The University of Leeds has a clear part to play in making Leeds, its communities and the wider Region the great place it is.  We are proud of our commitment to being a positive partner in society, and we all benefit from working collaboratively with inspirational individuals and organisations within and way beyond Campus.  Together, the University and the Region’s vibrant, active Third Sector create a collective of amazing and committed people, with skills and knowledge to share and build on.

As part of our commitment, we are delighted to be launching the Positive Impact Partners (PIP) programme.  PIP has been developed in collaboration with third sector, community and not-for-profit organisations to build capacity and encourage positive social change in a wide range of settings.  This innovative approach means the programme will:

  • Develop opportunities for collaboration that lead to positive social change
  • Respond to the varied needs of the evolving Third Sector in a timely way
  • Link skills, knowledge and capacity, across different organisations, with local need
  • Support and build capacity in the region’s diverse and vibrant third sector
  • Create personal and professional opportunities for both UoL and Third Sector partners
  • Be an exemplar of good practice

The PIP programme works by creating partnerships between University staff and Third Sector Organisations.  These partnerships then develop mutually beneficial goals and objectives to address specific challenges for both organisations and individuals.   These objectives can be as wide ranging as the individuals and organisations taking part. Some examples or areas of work could include; taking a fresh look at an existing project or way of working, creating new project ideas with shared benefits, or developing professional skills and knowledge in an innovative way.

You can find out more about PIP below, or sign up to be part of the programme here.

Mutual benefits

Effective collaboration through partnerships, brings benefits for the individual partners as well as the organisations involved.  At the core of the PIP programme is the relationship between partners and their creation of mutually beneficial objectives that will build capacity and encourage positive social change.  Read more about the benefits for community partners and university staff.

What to expect

Strong partnerships, ones that bring about mutual benefits, evolve where there is trust and commitment from both partners.  For this reason we advise that all participants agree to making certain commitments to the programme.  These commitments may differ from case to case, but in all cases are designed to underpin the partnerships and help foster trusting relationships.  Read more about the programme commitments.

Who can apply

  • All University of Leeds staff and PhD candidates with the agreement of their line managers or supervisors.[1]
  • Staff, trustees and volunteers* from any third sector/not-for-profit organisations (*where volunteers have regular, agreed roles and commitment to the organisation).
  • Staff (teaching, support and professional) and volunteers from state schools.

[1] Please note, a dedicated programme of support  is available for University staff who are (or wish to become) School Governors.  Contact Amanda Jackson for more information.

What our partners say

We’re not starting from scratch here – the programme has been running since 2015 (under the name of Community Mentoring) with some inspiring outcomes and valuable experiences both for individual participants and their organisations.

“It’s a fantastic way to build your team’s confidence and utilise the broad expertise and knowledge within the University. The scheme has greatly supported our relationship with the University; we have more contacts and are in touch with lots of different groups which has really benefited the work we do. It’s also given us time to reflect on our own work with those outside the organisation.”

Eleanor Rowley, Team Leader at IntoUniversity Leeds South, an educational charity that aims to raise the aspirations of young people. Into University staff worked with their University partners to give an outside perspective on existing projects and help develop their professional skills in key business operation areas.   


“It’s a good scheme.  It helps me take time to analyse my role and gives me ideas, as well as giving me the chance to help someone else.”

Tim Goodall, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds. Tim worked with his charity partner to develop their professional skills.  Tim helped his partner find new networking and professional training opportunities, provided new insights into creating strong community engagement and managing their relationship with corporate partners.


“We got involved in the mentoring scheme as we are a very small and young organisation and it seemed like an amazing opportunity to tap into expertise and get advice in areas where we are lacking capacity. It is great to have someone to talk to who has a proven track record.  Our University partner also has an extensive network within the University that he can refer us to should he think of others who might be able to help in other ways. It is amazing how many chance links come up in conversation that might lead onto opportunities and avenues to explore. We would urge any organisation to take up the opportunity of working with a friendly individual who is offering their time and expertise for free!”

Jen Dyer, International Mixed Ability Sport (IMAS). IMAS is a Community Interest Company developing and promoting local, national and international projects delivering social inclusion and education through sport. Jen worked with her University partner to review IMAS’s business plan with a view to expanding their business model in to new areas of sport.

 Next steps

We are now expanding the PIP programme and recruiting new partners from across the University. Third Sector Organisations and schools.   You can register to take part in the scheme here.  We are accepting registrations now for  the next round of the PIP programme. The next round of programme induction and partnership matching will take place later in the year.  We will contact you with details closer to the time of the scheduled workshops.   If you have any questions about PIP contact Amanda Jackson on 0113 343 4073 or