020 3504 0250

A Boutique Business Consultancy Specialising in Third Sector, Social and Public Interest Causes

Putting People at the Heart of What You Do


We help you to embed sustainable Change for Positive Transformation, Growth & Impact

1st Life Group is a London based boutique consultancy working with leading organisations in the UK and globally. We specialise in services supporting vulnerable groups, children and young people, criminal justice, specialist education as well as third sector, social and public interest causes. As the leader of an organisation tackling social justice, social impact and social mobility or providing crucial services to the public, people are at the heart of what you do. Our core work in organisational development allows us to support board members, C-Suite and executive teams with transformation, change and growth to establish as a market leader and future proof the business. The people you serve and protect are among the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in society and perhaps you run an organisation that:

• provides specialist education and training to those in the criminal justice system
• promotes opportunities to reduce inequalities in the workplace
• builds affordable housing for low-income families

Whichever service you provide that is a social cause, your work has a direct impact on society and makes a positive difference to the lives of vulnerable people. Clients we have worked with include: NHS, Police, Social Services and Government Bodies including MOPAC, Ministry of Justice and The Home Office. We work across the following sectors:



Unique Challenges

The nature of this work brings with it some unique challenges.
To name a few:

  • Recruiting and retaining staff in demanding environments
  • Evaluating performance – demonstrating outcomes and impact to secure funding
  • Maintaining standards for regulation, inspection and compliance

The pandemic has further magnified the need for organisations to manage risk and build sustainability into their processes, be prepared for any crisis or eventuality, and be able to pivot and adapt accordingly. These challenges are far from easy to navigate or keep up with, and there are a number of ways we can assist.


We understand business continuity, contingency planning and providing quality services are all key for future proofing your business. Our commitment is to promote Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) and the principles of Compassion throughout our work. Our specialist team has worked with many organisations just like yours to:

  • Identify > 1 million pounds in unclaimed fees within 2 weeks
  • Secure ‘Good’ inspection rating within 5 months to lift the embargo
  • Increase staff retention within 6 months boosting morale, value, continuity and consistency of care
  • Evaluate and demonstrate the effectiveness outcomes and impact of the business

Our services include consultancy, audit or corporate training.


Are you a social entrepreneur with a business idea?

We work with a selected number of business owners to set up their social enterprise or those trading for less than 2 years. Taking our experience from working at the sharp end in larger organisations, we bring the learning back 360 degrees to help you in your business.

One start-up we helped was failing. Cashflow was sporadic and money management wasn’t great. Our client went from 4 months in arrears, not being able to pay the rent to 110k turnover in only 8 months.

We have developed programmes specifically for start-ups just like you. Find our more about our 1:1 Programme, Group Coaching Membership and the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub.

Unique Challenges for Start Ups

Many business owners find it difficult to know whether to set up a Ltd Company, CIC (Community Interest Company) or have the intention of starting a charity (CIO). It can be pretty daunting deciding the status of the business. You need to consider how funds will be generated – let us assist you in making the right choice.

The nature of this work brings with it some unique challenges. We can help to:

  • Develop your business acumen
  • Define your value proposition – how are you bringing value to your clients?
  • Cost and price your services – we will show you how as a leader of a good cause you can be financially rewarded for your efforts
  • Better position for funding or revenue streams

If you have any questions about any of our services, BOOK a consultation with Toni or a member of our team.


Our MD and founder, Toni McLelland is a formidable force of nature in this space, working with a specialist team and hand-picked associates to complement and add value. She will be your ‘Critical Friend’ and straight-talking business mentor, bringing her 30 years of public sector experiences to the forefront.

Her strategic experience and background in leading multidisciplinary teams and large budgets in criminal justice and specialist education and care, has led Toni to develop her own unique Leadership Change Model and Compassionate Leadership Framework.

Let’s be clear here. What we do will not suit every organisation. We will only invest our time into you and your business if we can add value and get tangible results. As the leader, you will need to be 110% committed to:

  • Make sustainable, positive changes within your organisation
  • Be committed to DEIB and Compassionate principles
Navigating Change & Crisis Ian Carter - Wales, UK

"I had the pleasure of working with Toni at a time when I was going through a change management process in a previous role. Having grasped the brief, I was impressed by Toni's initial approach to facilitating an away day for me and my team, and when the away day was delivered Toni engaged the entire team and I saw the morning as a success. Whilst having some fun elements to the day, because of her approach, Toni was able to cut through the tension and identify the underlying issues. It wasn't just me that was impressed with Toni's approach, the team were too and without exception they found the day to be useful. Following the away day Toni provided clear and professional feedback which I was able to utilise to help support change."

Business Growth Mike Vacanti - USA

"There is a gap between vision and execution in most businesses, institutions, start-ups, and social programs. Toni bridges this gap. She is an extraordinary person with exception skills. She is consistent and constant in her values and presence. Toni moves the ball forward in all endeavours, she is professional, and mission driven. Leading through crisis and change is a unique, exceptional skill set, created through depth of experience, constant learning and wise grounding in ethics and values. Toni is so solid. She knows who she is and helps so many see the path ahead and plan the necessary steps forward. Toni has vision combined with understanding and the business chops to advise, teach and deliver. Toni is an all-star facilitator, strategist, and critical friend. We all need some of Toni's magic in our lives."

Business Growth Dennis Pitocco - USA

"Rarely have I encountered a professional as motivated, compassionate, and forward-thinking as Toni. Her solid work ethic, perseverance, integrity, and extraordinary ability to deliver beyond expectations again and again is beyond reproach. In summary, Toni just "gets it done" on time, on target, every time. Her leadership skills are both rare and remarkable, distinguishing Toni from so many other top tier professionals."

Business Growth Alastair Smith-Agbaje - UK

"Toni is a consummate professional, driven, meticulous, possessing great skill and ability to grasp the essential details of a brief and deliver on time with high quality! I had the pleasure to work with her on a youth project at very short notice, with a very tight deadline. The task required comprehensive details of youth work legislation, government and local authority knowledge. Toni delivered, I was very impressed with her support, attention to detail and assistance throughout the whole task. Looking forward to working on similar projects in the future, I will certainly be recommending Toni's services to my colleagues and other organisations, I know could benefit from her depth of knowledge and experience. Toni is top draw."

Business Growth Diana Osagie - UK

"We had a coaching session, then a meal and my business life changed, what greater recommendation can I give? The chance to bounce ideas with her, talk things through in a safe but stretching space- it allowed me to make the changes necessary to move my business forward. Toni is funny, friendly and an expert at what she does. Don’t baulk at the price, this level of expertise is valuable, if you want diamonds you can’t expect to pay Poundland prices! I love working with her... you will too."

StartUps – Social Impact Ian Evans - UK

"Toni is a valuable person to have on your side and excels as a critical friend in business. Toni provided excellent constructive feedback on a funding proposal for an organisation she has been instrumental in supporting the CEO to build up from the ground. Toni’s in-depth knowledge of the client’s service and what they needed, helped tremendously. I have introduced Toni to my clients so they can benefit from her skills and knowledge, and I would not hesitate to do so again."

StartUps – Social Impact April D. Patterson - USA

"Due to her strategic expertise and guidance, within one week of me implementing the plan mapped out by Toni, my business soared, and I am so grateful! I highly recommend Toni McLelland MSc! She has literally helped me scale my business AND a high ROI was achieved within the first month of hiring her! Definitely worth the investment."

StartUps – Social Impact Yvette Dooley - UK

"Toni is an absolute pleasure to work with. Her subject knowledge is so varied and her expertise in each of these areas has proved to be astonishing. Her ability to bring out the best in a person and their business potential is phenomenal. She demonstrates a clear passion for supporting individuals on their pathway to success, and to make sure success is achieved she will leave no stone unturned. If you really are ready to launch or relaunch your business, I would absolutely recommend Toni McLelland. If you’re feeling as if you are at a crossroads, do not hesitate to contact her. Her profile, as informative as it is, does not do her justice."

StartUps – Social Impact Sandra Harrison - UK

"Toni was recommended to me as I required a business coach. Firstly, her professionalism, experience and commitment are outstanding. Toni supported me in many ways and made me face my fears and filled me with confidence and excitement in the progression of my business. Toni has given me the tools required for business and how to strategically position myself. Toni’s sessions always left me empowered and ready to take on the world. Her humour and honesty need to be commended. If you are seeking a business coach look no further. I passionately believe you can achieve any goal you want if you have the tools to help you. Toni gave me those tools. I cannot thank you enough Toni."

StartUps – Social Impact Annys Darkwa - Wales, UK

"The Rhondda Hub for Veterans would like to thank this extremely wonderful lady for all the hard work and time that has been giving to us. An extraordinary Lady."

StartUps – Social Impact John Espirian - Wales, UK

"Toni gave me practical, honest advice in a 1-to-1 consultation about how to think about a new revenue stream for my business. She lives up to her billing of being a "Critical Friend", and I'd recommend anyone to speak with her if they need no-nonsense direction for their business. Thank you, Toni."

Individual Professional Growth Shelley Aldred - UK

"Toni will turn you inside-out, make you look at yourself from unfamiliar perspectives and then summarise you in a way you might not recognise at first, but she is prospecting for gold - and finds it where others fail to dig! Thank you, Toni."

Individual Professional Growth Lorna Ponambalum - UK

"In the hands of a gifted woman, great things happen”. (Gift Gugu Mona) That is certainly true of Toni McLelland. I have been working with Toni on and off for over a year now. In that time, she has helped me so much to realign my life, believe in myself and guide me on a path to achieve my professional goals and develop my business. Toni is like a whirlwind of ideas and actions to the point where I am inspired and my head spins with excitement. If you want a business coach or mentor who will challenge you, offer a listening ear and support you with some laughter along the way, then I would recommend Toni. She is the fairy godmother of the business coaching world spreading her fairy dust with a smile when required."

Individual Professional Growth K.S - UK

"I would like to say a big Thank you to yourself and Rob with regards to my life coaching, I feel that the transformation has improved my confidence and I have a clearer picture of what is important to me and, as a result I am finally and taking steps towards achieving my goals."

Individual Professional Growth Jo Phillips - UK

"I recently spent with time with Toni in her capacity as personal mentor and coach. WOW, what an impact this woman made on me in the space of several hours. Toni really listens to you, takes a very keen interest in your wants, needs and desires and then somehow manages to come up with a plethora of suggestions and ideas to start you on the road to a re-discovery of yourself and your worth aligned with the practicalities of what you need to do to make it happen. I found our time totally invaluable and priceless. I would highly recommend you talk to Toni for either personal or business direction. The coaching I received was of exceptionally quality and integrity."

We offer bespoke services and memberships to suit your needs.
Why not share your challenges over a consultation?

020 3504 0250

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