Bursary sets charity leader on the (cycle) path to success

The Director of a Wales-wide charity that promotes healthier and greener methods of getting about for local journeys has been named as the first recipient of a new commemorative fund that was set up to support the development and entrepreneurial skills of leaders in Wales.

Steve Brooks from Sustrans Cymru was announced as the first successful Walter Dickie Leadership Bursary recipient at the WCVA AGM and Annual Lecture at Venue Cymru in Llandudno on 22 November, 2017.

The bursary will help Steve develop his skills as an entrepreneurial leader and the experiences he gains will help advance the charity’s vision of ‘a Wales of healthier, happier people; greener, cleaner environments; and prosperous communities and economies.’

Steve will also share what he has learnt not only within Sustrans, but also with external partners, including Welsh Government transport officials, and a health board advisory panel.

Launched on 8 August at the National Eisteddfod on Anglesey, with members of Walter’s family, The Walter Dickie Leadership Bursary was set up by WCVA in memory of a long standing and warmly regarded charity sector advocate. Each year WCVA will award £2,500 to support an individual in the third (or voluntary) sector in Wales to become a better leader.

Steve said: ‘This is a really great opportunity for me to not only grow as a leader, but drive forward Sustrans’ vision for real change in Wales. For me being an entrepreneurial leader is about leadership, problem solving, and delivering sustainable change. It’s a way of thinking as well as a way of working, and a style of leadership that relentlessly seeks to make things better. That’s what I see in the leaders that inspire me and I hope that the bursary will help me to nurture those skills.

‘It is a real privilege to have been awarded this bursary. Walter was a dedicated third sector champion and this it’s a great chance for me to continue that legacy.’

Steve intends to use the bursary to fund enrolment on the New Technologies and Changing Behaviours course, part of the Global Challenges in Transport programme run by Oxford University’s Oxford Leadership Programme. The fund will also pay for Steve to travel on a study visit to a European centre of excellence, such as Copenhagen or Amsterdam. To bolster the impact of Steve’s activities Sustrans will be organising mentoring and ongoing strategic advice to complement his learning.

Phil Fiander, Director of European Operations, Consultancy and Business Development at WCVA said: ‘We were really pleased with the number of high quality applications we received and picking just one was quite a challenge. In the end we felt that Steve’s proposal best reflected Walter’s own passions in life, linking as it does personal learning, horizon broadening travel and development of the impact of the sector. We look forward to hearing about what he gets up to and learns over the coming months. We’re sure Walter would approve of our choice – Steve is a very worthy first recipient.’

About the Walter Dickie Leadership Bursary

For more than ten years Walter Dickie supported WCVA as a trustee where he played an instrumental role in guiding the organisation and helping to set up the groundbreaking Communities Investment Fund which lends money to social businesses.

The fund still runs today and remains the cornerstone of WCVA’s ongoing social investment activity. Thanks to Walter’s dedication, WCVA has been able to lend nearly eight million pounds to community organisations, many working in the most deprived areas of Wales.

Amongst a myriad of successes, the fund has helped save the last pubs in rural communities, given a kick start to the extreme sports boom in North Wales, provided a safe environment for children whose foster care has broken down, brought old buildings back into community use, created hundreds of jobs and enabled communities to control assets in their own towns and villages.

As a member of WCVA’s board Walter Dickie’s expertise, experience and commitment to the third sector have had a profound impact on the work of WCVA and his passion and warmth will long be remembered by those who had the pleasure of working with him.

The £2,500 bursary will be awarded annually to someone in a leadership role within a third sector organisation in Wales and hopes to reflect Walter’s passion for travel and for learning.


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