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Established Leaders is a leadership development journey designed build a stronger, more resilient homelessness sector led by skilled, empowered, and forward-thinking social leaders. Thanks to generous support from DLUHC and City Bridge Foundation, all places are fully funded.

Places are limited, to ensure that meaningful and lasting relationships can be built. Established Leaders for Senior Leaders is delivered in cohorts of twelve participants.

Cohort 3: September 24 - March 25: Applications will open from Monday 24 June - Monday 29 July at 10am.

We specifically encourage people from marginalised communities, particularly Black, Asian and minoritsed ethnic groups, LGBTQIA+ community, and people with disabilities, to apply. Please see also our EDI statement.

Contact us to find out more about future cohorts; leadership@homelesslink.org.uk

  • ILM-recognised

    Approved as ILM Recognised. ILM is the leading specialist provider of leadership qualifications in the UK.

  • Training

    50 hours core commitment + additional reading and reflection

  • Partnership

    Optional mentoring and coaching and two day residential Leadership Summit

  • Events

    6-month programme

  • Coaching

    Online peer community

I have learnt much, felt understood and assisted in staying motivated. I have taken away ideas and thoughts from various different people and contexts that have assisted in shaping our direction as an organisation and we have also been able to share some of our best practice as well.
CEO, Established Leaders 2023


Senior Leader

We expect you to be a senior leader within your organisation. You will likely be on the SLT/SMT of your organisation and/or manage a large team of people. There is no minimum time that you have been in post, but we would expect you to have at least five years’ leadership experience in some context.

Passionate about collaborating to achieve social impact and improve equity, diversity and inclusion

We want the programme to have long lasting impact on the sector. Your interest in collaborating with your fellow participants beyond the life of the programme is key.

Working for an organisation dedicated to ending homelessness

This must be a voluntary community sector homelessness organisation. Your organisation does not need to be a member of Homeless Link.

Commitment to attendance

In order for you and your fellow participants to get the most out of the programme, we ask you to commit to attending all sessions.

Should I apply for the London or England programme?


  • Working for an organisation based in London
    This may be a national organisation, but the majority of work within your remit should be in London.

  • Hybrid delivery
    Established Leaders London will be run as a hybrid programme delivered in person (in central London) and online. 


  • Working for an organisation based in England
    This may be any organisation based in England, including London.

  • Online delivery
    Established Leaders England will be run online.
This session was a revelation! Thank you so much for facilitating and also for the honesty and openness of everyone participating.
CEO, Established Leaders 2023


Established Leaders will support sustainability and governance of the sector by enabling sector leaders to create stronger, more resilient organisations that are entrepreneurial and connected. The programme will provide senior leaders with a real and virtual community that is a safe space to build relationships with like-minded leaders, and to give and receive support beyond the life of the programme.

Programme aims:

  • Increased personal resilience amongst the sector’s leadership enabling them to lead with strength, vision and influence.
  • Increased organisational sustainability enabling inclusive, resilient and adaptable charities that affect the biggest difference.
  • A sector that is forward thinking and delivers social impact to end homelessness.
  • A network of leaders that can draw upon its own assets to support, collaborate and challenge each other for greater organisational and community impact
  • Working towards more equal, diverse and inclusive leadership within the homelessness sector.

Outcomes for participants

  • Build relevant and effective leadership skills
  • Gain knowledge and expertise about key topical issues, and the space to reflect on how to implement your learning in the real world
  • Increase self-awareness
  • Receive peer-to-peer support and a safe space to share with others
  • Jointly develop solutions to real-world issues in homelessness
  • Join a community of passionate changemakers

Given current challenges in homelessness services we need this programme more than ever... It's well organised and meeting leaders from other homelessness services has been invaluable.
Senior Leader, Established Leaders 2023

Key elements

The programme will offer access to a wealth of leadership development support designed to help participants build the skills, knowledge, and networks needed to lead social change and combat homelessness effectively.

Welcome and Closing Days

All programmes will kick-off and conclude with an in-person welcome and closing day, allowing you to meet your peers as well as leaders on other cohorts, and to build trusted relationships.

Leadership Workshops

Participants join six workshops, each focussing on a different aspect of charity leadership, with a particular focus on issues and challenges facing the homelessness sector. Delivered by inspiring expert speakers and co-produced with EDI specialists and Experts by Experience, topics include Leading an organisation people want to work for, Creating a robust organisation that thrives in difficult times and Working in partnership: creating a collaborative sector. Each workshop is a half-day session, including presentation, discussion, reflection, group work and peer learning.

Action Learning Sets (ALS)

Action Learning is a powerful tool for developing critical-thinking, problem-solving, creative solutions and innovative practice. Action Learning Sets are a simple way for individuals to learn from each other, using the combined wisdom and skills of a diverse group of people to work through real situations faced in the workplace. You will meet three times through the course of the programme, in groups of six, with a trained facilitator. Find out more about Action Learning in Lucy and Laura's blog.

Find out more

Online networking community

Established Leaders provides an opportunity to build relationships with other senior leaders working in the homelessness sector. An online community enables participants to support and be supported by their peers during the life of the programme and beyond. Whatsapp is used to ask questions, share learnings and offer mutual support throughout the duration of the programme. At the end, all participants will have the option to join our growing leadership alumni on LinkedIn.

Open-to-all webinars

Our open-to-all webinars provide an opportunity to hear first-hand from CEOs and other expert speakers. Some sessions will be run as open Q&As, and others will address particular themes and topics relevant to all leaders. Topics include Inclusive Leadership, creating more diverse and inclusive organisations, and how to involve people with lived experience authentically.

There is no limitations on who can attend these sessions: you are welcome to encourage other leaders from within your organisation to attend.

Find out more

Self-assessment tools

In order to become a more effective leader, it is vital to have a good understanding of your own natural leadership and communication style. Participants use a strengths-based psychometric profile tool to explore who they are, as individuals and as leaders.

Leadership tools and resources

Homeless Link has a growing catalogue of toolkits and resources to support you in developing and improving your organisation and the wider landscape, these include a co-production toolkit, a framework for strengths-based working and a toolkit to write to your local MP on the cost of living crisis.

EDI workshop

Participants will join leaders on other cohorts for a masterclass on what inclusive leadership and equity mean in the context of homelessness organisations. They will have the opportunity to use the Homeless Link EDI Maturity Tool to self-assess the maturity of their organisation in relation to EDI, and identify practical steps to take.

Optional elements (additional fees apply)

Leadership Summit

We strongly encourage senior leaders participating in Established Leaders to attend our two-day Leadership Summit. This annual event provides leaders in our sector with the time and space needed to reflect on the past year and plan for times ahead, presenting the opportunity to learn from expert speakers as well as one another.


Mentoring offers you the opportunity to learn from a successful leader and build your knowledge of strategic issues. Participants have the option to be matched with a more experienced leader within the homelessness sector. Initially a six-month relationship, this will offer you a chance to ask questions, discuss real-life challenges, work towards personal and organisational goals, and learn from the mentors’ skills, experience and expertise.

Find out more

Leadership coaching

Leadership coaching provides a confidential, safe space for reflection and discussion, and empowers individuals to take responsibility for their own personal development. You will be matched with a qualified coach, who won’t be a homelessness expert. The role of the coach is to help you reflect to solve your own problems and to act as a “critical friend”.

Find out more


Exact dates for cohort 3 will be confirmed upon acceptance.

To view the cohort 2 programme outline, please see here.

Group talking


Do I need any specific qualifications to access the programme?

No, you just need to meet the eligibility criteria set out in the Eligibility section above.

What counts as five years’ leadership experience?

We classify the leadership experience required to meet the programme eligibility as professional, in-sector experience. This may have been accrued at different points throughout your career, at different organisations and can be paid or voluntary. Established leader applicants should be able to display at least five years of such experience. If your experience falls outside of these criteria, but you feel you are otherwise well suited for the programme, let us know why your experience is relevant and transferable in your application.

Why is the programme free of charge? 

Thanks to generous financial support from City Bridge Foundation and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DHLUC), we’re able to run these programmes at no cost to participants. In return, we request a commitment to attend the whole programme, to participate in feedback sessions and surveys.

Are lunch or travel expenses provided?

Lunch and/or refreshments will be provided for sessions which take place in person. Unfortunately we’re unable to reimburse travel expenses.

What happens once the programme is complete?

All participants are invited to join the online leadership alumni community on LinkedIn. Some people might also choose to continue regular peer support sessions with some or all of the other participants.

I have another question...

In October 22, we hosted an information webinar on the programme. We have collected together the answers to attendees' questions so your question may be answered here: Leadership Support_Q&A

Who can I contact for more information?

Contact Lucy Horitz for more information or for an informal chat about the programme.

Questions asked in the application form

Question 1: What are your goals for your leadership journey over the next 5 years?  [Maximum 500 words]

Question 2: Considering the programme content and themes, please tell us how you think the programme will benefit your leadership journey. In your response, please consider the impact the programme will have on your personal development, the development of your organisation, and of the sector as a whole. [Maximum 500 words]

Question 3: Considering the aims of the programme (listed above) please outline how you will personally contribute to the achievement of these aims within the programme. In your response, please consider how you could utilise your existing knowledge, skills, experience and attributes. [Maximum 500 words]

Question 4: A key element of the programme is developing a network of peers in an environment that feels safe, trusted and supportive. In order to achieve this, we ask that all participants commit to attending all of the sessions. How will you manage the required time commitment and ensure your organisational capacity doesn’t suffer as a result? [Maximum 250 words]

Question 5: In order to ensure that participants and their organisations get the maximum benefit from the programme, we ask all applications to be endorsed by their line manager or board member. Please provide a paragraph from your manager confirming their endorsement and your suitability for the programme.[Maximum 250 words]

  • CityBridgeFoundation_Logo_vertical_BlackColour

    City Bridge Foundation

    To deliver our London leadership programmes we have received funding from City Bridge Foundation – London’s biggest independent charity funder
  • DLUHC-web

    Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

    To deliver our England leadership programmes we have received funding from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).